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Alamgirnama (IC/CLOSED/SEE OOC)

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New Aeyariss
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Alamgirnama (IC/CLOSED/SEE OOC)

Postby New Aeyariss » Sun Oct 02, 2022 7:15 am



The blazing sun hung above the desert plain, covered only by small, thorny bushes. Small trees were scattered among the sands, like ships in the ocean. Nasr ud-Din Ali Shah Karlani ibn Farroukshiyyar, known by his regal name Alamgir - he who conquers the world - surveyed the open plain which was about to witness a massive slaughter. Vultures, already sensing an plentiful meal, already circles the skies in droves; and howling of the jackals sounded from the bushes.

The Padishah-Emperor was a man about twenty five springs. He had a tall, oval face, large eyes, wide nose and short, black beard. His skin was paler than most of the Karlani - courtesy of his mother being a foreign princess. Large white turban rested upon his head like snow on mountain's peak, and from underneath emerged chain mail protecting him from enemy blows. He wore a blue silken robe decorated with images of lions upon his chain mail armour, with his elbow and knee pads resembling heads of lions - symbol of the Karlani tribe.

An older man dressed in long yellow robe approached the Emperor. The man, to the contrary, wore a smaller, green turban; had longer white beard with massive moustache; and small green eyes. Wisdom and experience painted themselves on the man's face.

"So, here is the limit of my experience." Mahmoud Ferdowsi, court poet and tutor of Alamgir on all matters that did not involve spilling blood spoke "Now it is time for your majesty's art to shine."

"Indeed." sighed the Emperor "I pity that I can't pay more attention to your lessons, but my entire life has been one war after another. Due to that I had little time for fine arts; and people mock me as crude and uncultured now. "

"Perhaps when Khoda gives your majesty peace your majesty will have time. Your majesty is still young, and not as bad as some. Besides Farroukshiyar was a great warrior, and poet too. He left us his hymns after all."

Upon mentioning Khoda, the Emperor's face suddenly became more nervous. His mentor noticed it, thus he decided to intervene.

"Let's see what the kafr dogs are up to, shall we?" the poet suggested that they take a look at the enemy army assembled at the opposite side of the plain.

They ascended up the hill, where Alamgir's headquarters was. Alamgir gazed like a falcon on the battlefield. There across the field, stood Akal Singh, heading a coalition of four Chela misils. Bearded men stood in ranks, massive turbans on their heads and armour on their chests. Some had their chakrams on their turbans ready to throw at the enemy. Their faces were displaying anger, eyes - lust for blood. Forty five thousand chelas stood on the plain, wanting to avenge their sixth guru, whom Alamgir's grandfathered ordered boiled alive.

The Emperor shifted his gaze to the left. The enemy stood divided in three divisions, with their left wing and centre made purely of cavalry. On the right, partially within a small village stood a unit of cavalry, and in front of it an elite force of eight thousand musketeers. This is also where the enemy entrenched his biggest guns.

Alamgir then shifted the eyesight to his own massive army of fifty four thousand. His ahids stood in the reserve, but smaller contingents of ahids were moved to the further corners of both wings to prevent the forces there gathered from escaping, as the Emperor could not fully trust his vassals. His centre stretched between two small villages, and was put under the command of the Marzban e Dukhani. There the Emperor directed the forces of the Karlani cavalry, coupled together with a massive battery of artillery, among them over three thousand camel guns. Right wing, under command of the Vizier, held a large contingent of sepoys and remainder of kohadist cavalry. Left wing was composed of forced of allied Rajputs and conscripted pagan sepoys, under command of a vassal raja.

"I just hope that those uncircumcised, pig-eating infidels won't betray me like Karna did. " sighed Alamgir in a bitter memory of his former friend.

"If your majesty is so worried about them why bring them along?"

"Because I needed soldiers. And no matter how much I hate this fact, Kafrs are part of my Empire too. Until Khoda himself chooses to destroy them, I have to bear them. " came a stern reply.

The Emperor averted his gaze from the ranks of his foes, and sat on a chair, deep in thought.

"Why so worried, your majesty?" asked concerned poet "By Khoda's power you will break those kafrs, and then I will describe the victory in beautiful verse for your descendants to remember."

"You say that Khoda will give me victory..." replied the Emperor with concerned tone "Yet few weeks ago, Karna broke Yusuf Adil Shah, who was a good Khodaist. Khoda promised us that ten of ours will fight hundred of theirs, yet we do not see any more great victories like those in days of the Prophet-Khans."

"Khoda's will is mysterious." countered Ferdowsi "Man can not grasp it. Yet, at the end we can trust who he is. He always keeps his word. We may suffer in between, but our ending is guaranteed."

"I guess so..." the Emperor was visibly cheered. He rose up, and went to the headquarters, instructing his signals officer.

"Sound the horn, it is time."

The massive ram horn was sounded. Battle of Chajapur was about to begin.

***


The battle begun with the exchange of artillery. At once, hundreds of rounds were flung into the air. Mighty cannons on both sides roared like lions, yet cannoneers on chela side had sun in their faces and as the result, could not aim correctly. They missed time after time, while Karlani guns fell into chela ranks, smashing through men and horse alike and ricocheting behind the ranks of the pagans.

The Emperor's eye caught movement on the enemy right. The musketeers, until now stationary, begun to move, sprinting swiftly towards his soldiers. Even here, he heard the monotonous chant coming from the throats of the chelas, calling their goddess to assist in the coming battle and promising tantric sacrifice of captives in exchange.

Empowered by their faith, the chelas rushed towards his ranks, then stopped. The quickly reformed ranks, discipline whipped into them. Then, the first rank fired and clouds of death rose over the ranks. Sepoys from the Karlani right responded with fire of their own, but they lacked discipline of their foes. The Emperor with shame admitted that the chela infantrymen were superior in training and discipline. While his own men shot, without order and then took time to reload, the chelas worked like one of clockwork machines he had seen in Khusrubad. Rank after rank, they fired their muskets then ran away to reload, the next rank firing. Repeat. Then men in his own ranks dropped like flies under hailstorm of lead.

No. He could not let such a force contest his own.

"Messenger!" he shouted "Rush to Marzban of the artillery! Tell him that i want his rockets on those kafr musketeers!"

"But your majesty, what about the centre?" shouted one of the nobles watching the battle inside the headquarters. Behind him the battle was watched by a myriad of men and women that either followed the camp or were families of the soldiers. After all - when the Emperor moved, he took his entire court with him.

"If we don't destroy that formation they can rout our right. Then we will be flanked!" shouted the Emperor "Execute!"

The messenger ran. The emperor turned his eyes back to the firing exchange. The thunder of guns now resembled a raging storm, and so much smoke covered the area that he had trouble picking up the events.

Then, like a fiery dragon ascending the skies, first rocked was launched. It flew on a wide arc and missed the formation completely, crashing hundreds of meters behind. But others soon followed, and this time were accurate. Commander of the pagan right, wanting to avoid causalities, decided to withdraw and the musketeers rushed backwards to get out of reach of this demonic weapon.

In their place came hordes of chela cavalry. Wild riders came, chanting the name of their goddess; their unholy books hanging on their chests as talismans, curved sabres ready to strike.

"Forward in the name of Khoda!" shouted the Vizier, accepting the challenge, flag with lion of Karlani floating on the wind behind him. Rows of cavalry followed him. Like two majestic waves, two cavalry forces clashed into each other. Men were cut, horses screamed. A khodaist soldier smashed his mace into a turban of a chela warrior, breaking his neck and sending him flying from his mount. Warlike screams of "Khoda!" "Alamgir!" could be heard.

Heavier armor of the Karlani finally prevailed. The chelas broke and fled with wild abandon, chased by Karalni on their tails. But then, the cavalry wheeled to the side, to reveal reformed rank of musketeers ready to fire. Hailstorm of lead fell on the khodaist cavalry. The vizier too ordered a retreat to avoid further damage to his forces.

So far, the outcome remained contested.

***


Alamgir analysed the situation. Both his forces and forces of the enemy sustained considerable losses on their right wings. Which meant that deciding the outcome on the right wing was utterly out of question - for now at least. This left the other areas.

"I don't trust the kafrs on my left!" he thought "Which means that the center is the only area where I could decide the battle. Akal SIngh is also here, likely. But what if I commit to the centre, and the chelas rout the kafrs at that time? My ahids are my only reserve, and I doubt the kafrs are motivated to fight for me."

He paused in the thought.

"Unless... I could distract their left wing somehow...." he pondered, and idea arriving to his head "That will work."

Uttering a short prayer to Khoda, Alamgir called two messengers - young soldiers on their first assignment, overwhelmed by the fact that they had to be so close to the Emperor.

"The one on the right, rush to Marzban - Dukhani. Tell him to bring full force of his rockets on the enemy left. I want it suppressed. Meanwhile focus all the canons at the enemy centre and keep the camel guns loaded with grapeshot. When I launch a flare - fire them all at once. " he turned to the other one "Order the Rajah in charge of the right wing to dismount his cavalry and slowly advance forward. Every time the rockets stop flying, erect a small wall of sand and take cover behind it. When the rockets stop flying take cover and emerge once they fly again! "

Both messengers rushed to their destinations, and the Emperor ordered his horse to be prepared. He mounted it, drew his bow and joined the ranks of his ahids. The battle was coming to the cumulative point.

Soon, the Karlani left begun a crawl at snail pace, making makeshift fortifications along the way and in such a manner preventing the chela left from coming to aid the centre. Meanwhile repeated salvos of Karlani guns finally goaded the enemy in the centre to charge. A screaming wave of chela horsemen was now coming directly at him, sky becoming filled with arrows flung by both sides.

The Emperor smiled, and ordered the flare to be launched.

The ranks of Karlani quickly parted, uncovering thousands of zaburaks behind them. The camel guns all fired with grapeshot at once, just as energy of the charge carried the chelas forward. Leaden hailstorm fell on them and a massive wave of men and horses was turned into isolated groups, manically trying to realise what happened. Wounded horses screamed; some ran away, others crashed into other raiders. The enemy lost momentum. When they reached the Karalni lines - no power was left in them.

Yet despite the losses they pressed on, too high on drugs to notice their losses. Their effort was in vain, as the Karlani had better armour. Despite that bitter struggle erupted everywhere, and soon the chaos destroyed all sense of order. Yet, in spite of all the losses - the chelas held, even if by a thread.

First sign of the fact that this was about to change was a flock of birds, that flew out of the village. Some chelas turned to see the banners with lion of the Karlani on their sides, and realised that they were being flanked. There rode ahids, his majesty Alamgir himself leading them in the first ranks. Behind him followed massive, armoured war elephants, with spikes on their tusks and turrets full of soldiers.

The force of ahids wheeled about, launching a volley of arrows on the enemy's back, and felling many. Then the elephants fell on the pagans, throwing men and horses like a child toys. Ahids followed behind them, grabbing their spears, sabres, maces and axes. Pressed from three sides, the chelas started giving ground. Among them, Akal Singh fought like a cornered tiger, killing one foe after another. He wore a turban so large it made him look comical; one filled with various weapons. He had dark skin and long, black beard; his green eyes portrayed madness so massive it had to be supernatural.

"Akal Singh!" Alamgir roared, addressing the enemy commander "You have blasphemed Khoda long enough! Today I bring divine judgement on your head!"

"So I take my vengeance today for Guru Keerat Singh!" shouted the Chela leader "I will cut off your head and put it before the First Scripture! Only then can our many armed goddess be satisfied!"

"Your goddess can't save you, for Khoda is deva of devas!" Shouted Alamgir, and rode forward. The two clashed, exchanging blows of their swords; Alamgir blocked with his round, wooden shield and aimed at the exposed face of his enemy. But then a strong blow made him fall from his horse.

"My lord!" one of Ahids attempted to rush to their monarch's rescue, but was swiftly cut down by Akal Singh.

"Where is your Khoda now?" Akal rushed forward, raising his sabre to strike...

But Alamgir, using a technique taught to him by Viratacharya, side-stepped the blow and cut the horse's neck. The animal fell forward, and Akal Singh flew off it's back, falling flat on his chest.

"EXACTLY HERE!" roared Alamgir. Akal rose from the ground, now furious beyond all measure.

he rushed forward, rising his shamshir to strike. Alamgir blocked the cut with his own, and returned the blow. Akal rose his shield to block - last mistake of his life, as Alamgir came and smashed his shield into the shield of the enemy. Akal lost his balance, his shield trapped under shield of the Karlani ruler - and then Alamgir stabbed the tip of his shamshir into chela leader's face. Red blood flew, as largest threat to the Empire aside from Brahmaji Rao has been killed.

With one motion, the Emperor severed the head of his enemy, and rose it into the air.

"KHODA!" he shouted.

"KHODA! KHODA!" repeated the Ahids, and leashed upon their foes like wolves on a pack of sheep. Seeing their leader dead, panic broke across the Chela center. They ran in terror, some staining their armour and robes with human waste, Ahids behind them in hot pursuit. Seeing this, the Chela left fled too; and the right was encircled and slaughtered as soon as the last remnants of the center ran off the field.

Karlani soldiers now fell on the enemy camp like locusts on a field. Fate of chela property and families now was in the Karlani Emperor's hands.

By the evening, corpses covered the ground in thousands, as far as eye could see. Jackals and vultures had greatest feast in heir life.
Rping in MT (2023) and PT/FanT (1564)


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Postby Western Fardelshufflestein » Thu Oct 06, 2022 3:55 pm

Kazem Mirza ibn Farroukshiyar


I'm just a boy in love with his attendant.

He almost wrote down those words, then stopped; if someone who understood Ardu found his journal, all they'd need to decipher his letters was to look at the date scrawled at the top of the page. He'd be ruined if anybody discovered his secret.

He bit his lip, opted to elaborate on the feelings toward being in the war encampment he'd scribbled down yesterday. His dream was yet again too personal to be put to writing. He could squander some ink on his excitement to travel beyond the walls of the citadel, which had long since faded once he'd realised it was but a lesser version of home. There were fewer amenities, he found, and he couldn't stray beyond the camp at all. The battles he had been eager to watch did not seem a worthy reward so many days' travel and poor sleep. He dared not critique the Emperor even in his secret writing, but he could not help but feel he was being carted along to observe his bother's feats in war and share in his victories and demonstrations of power.

Kazem closed his journal and slipped it under the bedroll, then stood. Hasan was waiting with his day clothes just outside his private corner of his temporary lodging, dark eyes steady and expectant. Kazem could dress himself, but he much preferred when his personal servant did it, when his hands brushed against Kazem's shoulders and ran along Kazem's bare skin. Hasan was twenty-one, four years more than Kazem, and delicately beautiful: sharp cheekbones blossomed above a pointed chin, and small, finely shaped lips formed beneath a slender nose. He was not much taller than Kazem but broad in shoulder, and he had slight muscle from the labor sometimes required by his profession. Kazem knew they would never be together. For one, Kazem was still in the gentle grasp of boyhood, and it was evident in his cracked voice and supple cheeks. For another, a four years' gap was too great in the young prince's mind. Maybe it wouldn't seem so much when he was twenty-five, but now it was too great a divide to be crossed.

When Hasan finished dressing him, he stepped back and gave his charge a short bow. Kazem allowed himself the flicker of a smile. His servant was so reverent, so mild-mannered, and so well-spoken. He had a voice of the sunshine peeking though the verdant leaves of trees, of a birdsong, of hot tea sweetened with a pinch of precious sugar. Kazem wished he could command his servant to speak, but he knew such an odd request would be vividly remembered.

After breakfast, he strolled outside and joined the throng of courtiers eager to catch a glimpse of the great battle. He searched not for a window between the shoulders of women but for the face of Youssef, who saw these expeditions as a form of entertainment. Kazem wished he could allow himself to feel the same way.

He stopped just behind a stout figure just now surpassing him in height, hands clasped behind his back. Feeling adventurous, Kazem reached out and tapped the other's shoulder. He retracted his arm as Youssef spun around, a stern order beginning to leave his mouth then cutting off abruptly when he saw who it was. Youssef's face split into a wry grin.

"Someone was enjoying his sleep, hey?" Youssef teased.

Kazem shrugged. "I was journaling."

"Oh, the usual. Come on; we can't see anything from over here." He tugged Kazem's hand and attempted to lead him around the throng of spectators, only for the duo to be stopped by a pair of guards, who forbade them from going farther.

"Alright. We can try and make our way to the front, I guess." Unperturbed, Youssef's tone reverted to its usual flippancy.

As it turned out, there was a cluster of women not far from where they stood. Nearly all were Kazem's height or shorter, and he could see well enough through their shoulders and over the heads of the shortest. Youssef, naturally, had no qualms about this. He loved being around girls, particularly those not of his blood.

Kazem peered through the camp and into the distance where the battle was to be fought. He was too far away to make out individual faces, but he felt certain he would have been able to pick out Nasr--Alamgir--were he allowed to creep a bit closer. He had a decent vantage as it was. When the distant booms of the artillery first ripped through the air, he shuddered although he was too far for the sound to hurt his ears. Gray smoke rose in plumes that blurred into a single line.

All in all, Kazem found the process of war to be rather dull. He wanted to be where he could see the soldiers, where he could drink in their athletic forms and watch the sun glisten off their armor. He imagined the intense faces set behind those helmets, the ground teeth and the pores saturated with sweat, the fierce growls that issued from their throats. The clash of the Karlani and the foreigners, of civilization and savagery, became elevated when he focused on individuals, even if those individuals were almost entirely fictitious. An infantryman sprang from his haunches, khanda flashing in the afternoon sun before it plunged into the chest of a foe. An Ahid loosed an arrow from atop his steed, his fingers splayed and his gaze tracking his projectile to see if it hit its mark. Crouched behind a cannon, a scarred officer shouted orders to fire the machine, which thrust out its charged with a belch of smoke.

Many a time, he pinched his neck and chided himself for not paying closer attention. He couldn't be distracted; he would be asked what he thought of the battle, and he'd have to give a coherent answer. Distracting himself from his fine attendant of three months would never do.
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Postby New Aeyariss » Fri Oct 07, 2022 2:07 am

The battle was over, the enemy camp has been captured. The Emperor has ordered all the male captives above sixteen years old to be beheaded, and a pyramid to be built from their heads. Women and those below sixteen were to be sold into slavery. The camp as then looted of anything valuable, and the great river of men left the grim ruins for birds and jackals.

In the evening, the Emperor called for a grand feast to celebrate his victory. He sat alone on an elaborate chair in front a long tent, Ferdowsi sitting at his side. The Emperor looked among the celebrating. The tables were filled with nobles, both of Karlani and the pagan kshatriya origin; floods of wine were poured like floods in the monsoon season*, and to the Emperor's surprise both the Pagans and Khodaists seemed like best friends, pouring one glass after another.

Various other celebrations were ongoing. To the right was a massive dancing competition, with various women twisting like snakes to the rythm of music. Next to them some men held a friendly contest of koshti wrestling, coiling on the ground in loincloths alone.

To the left however, a more vulgar display could be seen. Having captured plenty of Chela idols, the emperor ordered them to be made a mockery of by serving as toilets for his warriors. Every once a while, a man ran towards the large pile of idols and Chela holy books, and promptly relieved himself on them. Alamgir felt vindicated greatly - even if his vindication was coming at the cost of foul smell slowly starting to reach him from the large pile of mixed idols and human waste.

To the Emperor's suspire, his pagan soldiers eagerly took part in this display.

"Now this shows their true worth!" boasted Fedwosi "Now whole Badristan will know that idols are s***! Maybe I will write a poem about it!"

"Indeed!" laughed the Emperor, taking a sip of wine "Yet I am yet to do this to idols of my old friend".

"Kodha's willing, your majesty will!"

"Assuming that Sher does not choose this moment to invade me from the North, a new rebellion won't erupt elsewhere or I won't be stabbed to death by one of my brothers." came a resigned reply.

"I trust that your majesty can deal with all those even if they came on you. Wasn't Akal the most terrifying warrior I have ever seen, and your majesty felled him?"

"Perhaps so, but it changes little in the end." Alamgir's face changed. It no longer was joyful - now sadness displayed itself on the Emperor's face.

Ferdowsi noticed his master's consternation.

"What is wrong, your majesty?" the poet asked.

"I am just tired of all the bloodshed, of the fighting." Alamgir responded "I am fighting to see coming of Devashah and completion of the Frashokereti. I know that then there will be peace. But now, Devashah is nowhere near, and I have killed one man after another."

"Men who deserved it!" responded Mahmoud "Uncircumcised pagans, pork-eating idolaters who blaspheme Khoda and worship fallen devas with human sacrifices and orgies. Surely they deserve righteous judgement and sentence?"

"Does Khoda want the pagans dead?" countered the Emperor "If he wanted to he would have killed, them all, perhaps by flood like he did in the past."

"Leave Khoda's judgements to him. He knows the best how to deal with them- and just do what your majesty was asked to do."

The conversation did not continue after this - but Fedrowsi knew that Alamgir, who now went on to devour tasty mutton korma - his faviourite dish - has not been calmed down. However, food has so far directed the Emepror's attention away from morality onto the table.




* The most dominant interpretation of the Khodaist law is that Khoda, while forbidding eating shellfish and pork, does not forbid consumption of alcohol (except in special cases, such as priests). However, a minority interprets it differently.
Rping in MT (2023) and PT/FanT (1564)


Inyourfaceistan wrote:You didn't know that Cusc is actually a 4-armed cyborg genius commander and skillful warrior created in secret by a cabal of rich capitalist financiers built to lead and army of drones and other renegades against and overbearing socialist regime?
Psalms 144:1 wrote:Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
Also known as El Cuscatlan, Jesus will offer you eternal life if you believe in him!


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Postby Of the Quendi » Fri Oct 07, 2022 3:53 am

On the banks of the Muchukunda River

Yusuf Adil Shah, Sultan of Vijayapura, was numbed to the pain of being dragged by the rough hands of his enemies across the muddy blood-soaked dirt of the riverbanks. The bitter taste of defeat in his mouth had numbed him to the pain of the arrow wound in his thigh and the gash across his forehead where the axe of the big Rajput broke his helmet. The sight of seeing Burhan Nizam Shah, his ally and his son-in-law, fall when the enemy turned the left flank, and the capture of his own son Ismail trying to defend his father's escape had inured the sultan to any physical sensations. What is physical pain to the end of a dynasty? The death and capture of sons and son-in-laws? The bitterness of defeat? Even the screams and moans of his own soldiers left dead and dying on the battlefield and the laughter and cheers of the enemy among them barely registered in the sultans mind.

Even when the ruffians dragging him came to a halt and dropped him onto the dirt with a laugh and the stench of shit reached his nostrils from the ground Yusuf barely took note. But the voice he noticed at once. "Get him up." It said. Not a yell, not a shout, yet somehow it drowned out the noise of dying and celebrating men, of neighing horse and trumpeting of elephants, of war drums and the sound of the river. All faded away as nothing next to that voice and Yusuf suddenly found himself more alert than ever before in his life with every hair on his body rising to stand attention at the command of that voice. Exhausted and injured Yusuf did not doubt that he would have risen on his own accord on the order of that voice if he had not immediately been seized by the hands of the ruffians, now trembling in apparent terror, and pulled upright.

The man sat on a horse as black as coal, garbed in chainmail and plate armor decorated with a depiction of a tiger, his personal symbol. He was beardless, young, handsome and strong too look upon. His armor and his clothing was in pristine condition with not a speck of dirt on them; evidently he had not seen combat today and on his head he wore a saffron colored cap. At first glance little about the man revealed more than an unusually handsome and fierce looking Kshatriya warlord of some standing. His armor and attire was simple enough, even his horse and the sword by his side could have been ridden or worn by any moderately prominent warlord. Only the saffron-colored cap and the saffron flags, known to the neatens as the Bhagwa Dhwaj, flowing behind him gave him away at a first glance. But as Yusuf looked into the eyes of his conqueror he knew instantly that this man could never be mistaken for a common Kshatriya or warlord. The fire that burned in the deep dark pools of this man's eyes was unlike anything Yusuf ever before beheld. His heart stopped beating as he sensed the enormity of the power and will behind the eyes of the man who none could possibly mistake for anything other than Brahmaji Rao, the great scourge of the faithful, the Avatar of the Wind God. "Khoda save me." A terrified Yusuf grunted in involuntary terror.

"Your god cannot save you, Yusuf Adil Shah, Sultan of Ark-Killah Kote. No more than he could save your brother by marriage Zafar Khan when I put his city to the torch. No more than he did your sons-in-law Burhan Nizam Shah, Sultan of Junnarnagar and Alaeddin Imad Shah, Sultan of Bararpura both of whom has died on this day." The voice of the Avatar of the Wind God thundered, Yusuf trembling before him. "Other gods, greater gods rule Vrishna now." He added.

With that the Avatar of the Wind God broke eye contact with Yusuf and turned to survey the battlefield. The attention of the terrifying non-human presence behind Brahmaji Rao's dark eyes withdrawn, Yusuf took a deep gasping breath and gave a sigh of relief. He allowed himself to observe the young man as he surveyed the field of battle. "You fought well." Came the judgement, almost grudgingly. "If your infantry had been warriors not sepoys your center might have held against me." Said the young ruler, gazing ponderously out onto the bloody field from which the wails and moans of thousands did not seize. Then he turned his attention towards Yusuf once more.

"Still you are defeated. Your army is destroyed, your allies dead and you and your son will join them if I command it. Ark-Killah Kote and Vijayapura are defenseless against me. I may take your fortress and your city and destroy them and all that dwell within them if I so please. The Devas desire it, they long for the blood of Khoda's blind and feckless followers." Declared the Wind God's avatar with scarcely contained blood lust. "And yet." He added. "I feel inclined to be ... merciful?" The man whispered, drawing out the last word as if himself surprised by it. For a moment he fell silent, lost in his own thoughts and neither Yusuf not any of the attendant lords and generals of the Vijayanagaran army dared to interrupt the great prince. "Yes." Whispered the man. "Merciful."

Once again he turned his burning eyes towards Yusuf and the sultan had the strangest feeling of having his mind read. "You will go with my brother Vijay and the advance guard of my cavalry to Vijayapura." Ordered the avatar. "You will yield up the city and its citadel to him and I will spill not one drop of blood of the Khodaists there but allow them to live. I will spare your life and let you live in comfortable exile in my city of Vijayanagar, the one true city of victory in this and any other realm, and I will allow your son Ismail to live and grant him the right to rule as zamindar over a jagir consisting of the Khodaist parts of your former realm, exempting of course the fortress of Ark-Killah Kote where Vijay Rao will rule as Rajah under my authority." Declared the conqueror. Yusuf considered the offer. It was far more than he could have expected and yet even under the strain of the terrifying gaze of the Scourge of the Faithful Yusuf did not forget that he was sultan and shah of many lands, commander of many soldiers, a spark of defiance remained within some part of his should untouched by the power of the Devas residing within Brahmaji Rao. "And if I refuse? If I choose to put my trust in the Padishah Emperor to deal with you Brahmaji Rao" Spoke Yusuf; a man who had not for a day in his forty nine year long life been loyal to any Padishah Emperor. The Maharajah merely smiled; a terrifying sight. "Then you and your son die today, Vijayapura fall before the week is over and Ark-Killah Kote before the changing of the moon, and not a single Khodaist man above the age of sixteen shall live to tell the tale, and Alamgir's revenge will come too late if it comes at all." The Maharajah replied calmly and coldly. "Think of your people Sultan. I offer them life, I offer them freedom. Do not condemn them to death and destruction."

Yusuf considered it for a moment. Oddly he never doubted the sincerity of his enemy's offer, only the desirability of it. In the end the man who was once the most powerful of the shahs, khans and sultans that followed Zafar Khan after his death asserting autonomy from the empire in its southern regions prostrated himself before the servant of the Devas, in defeat and acquiescence.

~*~

Brahmaji Rao watched as his brother rode away with the former sultan of Ark-Killah Kote. The famous fortress was scarcely fifty miles away. The cavalry vanguard would reach it in two days. It was doubtful that there where men enough to man the walls of the citadel, let alone the city itself and for five hundred miles there was not an army left to challenge the might and power of Vrisha. So why mercy? Brahmaji Rao felt a great headache as voices within him cried out in anger and frustration, braying for blood, the blood of the inaptly named Vijayapura and for a moment Brahmaji Rao felt as if he had made a great mistake and considered summoning back Yusuf Adil Shah to put him and his son to the sword to be followed shortly by all the followers of Khoda in the entirety of their fallen sultanate. He sensed the dissatisfaction of his generals and he knew his soldiers would not appreciate being denied the chance to loot a famously wealthy city, yet something stayed his hand, somewhere within him a force superior to the Devas, the same force that had possessed him to extend the offer in the first place. Was it honor? It had been honor that had turned Karna against Alamgir at Zira. Slaughtering unarmed men, women and children was surely beneath the dignity and honor of a Kshatriya prince, whatever generals, soldiers and even Devas thought. Yes, Brahmaji Rao decided, with some relief. It was his honor that had made him show mercy to a brave adversary. Yet it gnawed at him. He had showed no such restraint at Zafarabad and Zafar Khan had been a greater foe than had Yusuf Adil Shah.

"You disagree with my decision Kathiravan, my brother?" Brahmaji Rao spoke, more to focus on something other than his own odd behavior than out of general interest in the youngest of his two older brother's thoughts. Kathiravan turned towards Brahmaji and lowered his head respectfully. "You are my brother and the Chakravarti, nothing you do should ever surprise me and nothing you decide must ever displease me, yet I confess your decision to spare the Adilshahs and their lands to be unexpected." The older man spoke softly almost reverently. Briefly a look of displeasure appeared on Brahmaji Rao's face. The devotion and reverence of his brothers at times came rather too close to sycophancy for his tastes. The effects of their ignoble captivity no doubt but no less displeasing for it. But perhaps he was being too hard on them. Perhaps it was not a servility instilled by years of captivity but a genuine affection for their brother inspired by their liberation from that captivity that inspired their devotion? Time alone would tell if Vijay and Kathiravan were still worthy of Vijayanagara or no. "My enemies are legion brother." Declared Brahmaji Rao. "I wish to destroy the Karlani armies, why should I waste my time destroying the cities of their rebellious vassals when there are so much more worthwhile foes to face, honorably on the field of battle." Brahmaji Rao said, trying to convince himself more than his deferential brother.

Kathiravan lowered his head respectfully. "Yes my Maharajah." He merely spoke. Brahmaji Rao nodded ponderously casting one last gaze at the battlefield. Several more foes destroyed. Of the five sultans that had followed Zafar Khan two lay dead on the banks of the Muchukunda, the third, the most powerful of the five, would soon surrender his city. To move against the remaining two while sending some of his lieutenants to establish control over Junnarnagara and Bararpura was the obvious next move. It would allow him to consolidate control over the whole of the Dakkhin. So that was the last thing on Brahmaji Rao's mind. "We march on Amreli!" Brahmaji Rao ordered. Murmurs of surprise broke out among his officers but none questioned their divine ruler. None, but Kathiravan. "But my lord you promised Jahanagir Shah you would not seek to take Amreli. If you move against it Alamgir will take it as a declaration of open war." Kathiravan cautioned. Pleasantly surprised that his brother dared speak up against him Brahmaji deigned to explain his thinking. "Open war with the Karlani is my great desire brother. We have all but cleared the Dakkhin of his restive Khodaist vassals. Now is the time that we move against the so-called Padishah Emperor himself." Brahmaji Rao declared. Kathiravan once more lowered his head in obedience. "Amreli is not a Khodaist jagir my lord. They follow the same gods as does we." He however insisted. Brahmaji Rao merely nodded. "I much prefer to draw my sword against the followers of the false god Khoda but when the followers of the true gods will not side with us we must fight them same as the Khodaists. I pray Amreli will see the wisdom of submitting peacefully and join our righteous cause. If so I shall honor and revere their maharajah above all others when we take Khusraubad. But if he resist he must die so that our cause must live." Brahmaji Rao declared. Kathiravan, having no further objection, nodded. "Yes Maharajah, I hear and obey your orders." He replied, before turning to issue orders for the preparation of the army.

Brahmaji Rao smiled. Perhaps his brothers might yet prove worthy of command, though this was not the cause of his smile. Within him the displeasure of the Devas at being denied Vijayapura subsided at the thought of Amreli. And from Amreli the distance to Khusraubad was not so very great.
Nation RP name
Arda i Eruhíni (short form)
Alcarinqua ar Meneldëa Arda i Eruhíni i sé Amanaranyë ar Aramanaranyë (long form)

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Ovstylap
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Postby Ovstylap » Sun Oct 09, 2022 12:38 pm

Erbir Mirza ibn Farroukshiyar, Chajrapur

Before the Battle
From underneath a practical steel helmet one might expect to see upon the most well equipped of Karlani horsemen, distinguished only by its golden imprinted decorations, gazed the bright green and hazel eyes of the Padishah Emperor's right hand man, and one of his few trusted brothers. Erbir Mirza ibn Farroukshiyar sat upon a steed of a rich brown, the colour of cinnamon. It was a courser of high quality and breeding. It paced slightly to the right, before stopping as it responded to its reigns being pulled upon. It happily dipped its head to chew upon a clump of rich green grass, whilst Erbir rubbed the back of its mane affectionately. Vaphādāra was the name of his steed, meaning loyal. Erbir himself was wearing high-quality armour of chain-mail. Vambraces adorned his lower arms, whilst plate protected his thighs and upper chest. He twisted his neck to stretch it under the weight of the helmet.

Accompanying the Vizier was a selection of men. To his right, sat upon a lighter brown horse with white socks was Nimesh ibn Joshi, his personal protege, and a trusted commander of his scouts. Over the last two years and some months, Nimesh had proved himself as an able, competent, and loyal officer, and one who was increasingly willing to question Erbir, which helped to hold him to account, and not to fall into assuming that everyone saw things the way he did, and as such would follow his commands as he expected. To his left attendants held two of his warhorses Khātarīpūrvaka (Sure-footed), and Ātura (Eager). Around them were a number of officers, sat upon their steeds, with their own attendants, as well as a group of riders who were serving as messengers. Typically these were either young men who proved themselves of sound mind, or older veterans who could be relied upon to remember their messages in the heat of a chaotic summer battle.

The group were all upon a knoll which overlooked the plain of Chajrapur, whilst a fair distance to the left was the party accompanying Emperor Alamgir. Erbir looked over his shoulder to his left. There, all along the ridgeline, were a mass of spectators. Camp followers. Wounded and sick soldiers. Unneeded attendants. Armourers, carpenters, muleteers, grooms, cooks, and the like. The Imperial Court. Erbir turned back to the battle field, shaking his head softly. He had witnessed dozens of battles in his lifetime, and was not bored to them, but found it mildly disturbing how war was seen as a spectator sport by so many. He thought to himself that he and other officers had done such an effective job at putting down rebellions and threats to the Crimson Court over the last two decades that many were immune to a proper understanding of war and death, or even privation and fear themselves. Nonetheless, they were the court of his Emperor, the one who had raised him to the position of Vizier after the snakish plots of Farhad Mirza, the former Vizier. Erbir grinned for a moment as he remembered Farhad's face as Alamgir sentenced him as he did. Then he shook his head, and looked to the events immediately ahead of him.

Battle is Joined

This was the Emperor's battle. That much was clear. No stunning manouveres today from Erbir, he was to serve the Emperor's will, and play his part in allowing the court to witness his glory. Whilst Alamgir was no doubt a highly competent general, and was vastly popular amongst the troops for allowing them to indulge in their victories, Erbir believed that he was somewhat more willing to sustain casualties than he was himself. Perhaps he was too sentimental, some might suggest. Erbir had seen too many good men die. He had seen too many men die. If only the people of the Karlani Empire would know their place and keep the peace, then they wouldn't lose their lives, or those of their loved ones, to men like himself. He sighed.

The boom of cannon announced the opening of the battle. For several minutes the cannon exchanged fire, the sun benefitting Alamgir's forces as the Chela's struggled to adjust their aim as they attempted to see the fall of their shot. Erbir had never seen such a concentration of camel guns before. Thousands of them were accompanied with the Karlani forces, an unprecedented number not seen in any history that Erbir had come across. Logistically, it was an incredible feat. To provide food and water for that many camels, to bring the spare camels to replace losses to attrition, the men needed to maintain the guns. The amount of transport needed for the ammunition to be carried. It was ridiculous in fact, and not something that Erbir believed worth-while or effective. Far better a handful of batteries of well-trained gunners than a great mass of camel guns which extended the milage of any army on the march to a great amount. It had taken hours to deploy the entire army, even though 54,000 men was a significant force, a different composition could have been more effective.

Ahead, the Chelas arranged before his own part of the battle line, the right, began their advance. They sprinted forward, their chanting gradually breaking as they ran towards his men. They were covering the ground rapidly. Of all the enemies of the Peacock Throne, Erbir respected the Chelas greatly, though he had not faced Brahmaji Rao. Of course, this was a battle which would impress the court, and word of it would travel through the lands, and perhaps intimidate other Chelas. Thoughts of strategy and politics left Erbir's mind, as he watched the Chelas respond to the sound of instruments and shouted commands come to a halt, and form ranks. Under Erbir's command was a force primarily of Sepoys, whilst a number of Karlani horsemen were also under his command. They were no men of Dahari, bar a company of horsemen under his personal command, held in reserve. A few hundred Ahids formed the far-right flank, preventing any sepoys slipping away from the main confrontation.

Some of these sepoys fired early, and haphazardly, but the sound of their shots was drowned out by the continuing artillery exchange. A dense crackle of musketry and the Chela front rank fired. Dozens of sepoys fell. A second volley. More men hit the ground. A ramshackle attempt at a volley in response, half out of desperation and vengeance, the other half actually under co-ordinated orders. A third volley from the Chelas. Their ranks had all fired, and they were reloading. Random firing from the sepoys, intermixed with some more competent volleys. The first Chelas had reloaded and another volley came. Shots fired back in response. There was not much could be done without ordering the sepoys to close with the enemy, but Erbir believed that they would break under the disciplined fire of the Chelas, whilst to order them to retire would invigorate the rest of the Chelas. "Five or six shots to our two or three, depending on the units," remarked Nimesh. Erbir nodded.

A great shriek and a trail of orange arced far over the heads of the Chela musketeers, exploding at their original positions. Screams of fire, screams of child-dragons, and more rockets arced from the centre of the Karlani force over the heads of the sepoys on the left-hand side of Erbir's positions, falling to explode among or immediately above the Chela musketeers with an accuracy unusual for rocket artillery. The disciplined fire of the Chelas soon broke, and reinvigorated, the pace of sepoy reloading increased, though the volley discipline was almost entirely lacking. Before long, the Chelas withdrew, the sepoys instinctively beginning to follow, before they were brought back into line by the more senior amongst them.

Battle plans
The Chela musketeers withdrew hastily, forming into columns as they exited the range of the sepoy musketry. Instead, a great mass of Chela cavalry rode forward, increasing from a trot to a canter as they passed their infantry. The Vizier grinned. He looked to those around him. "We shall meet the challenge." He nodded to a couple of trumpeters, one of whom called for the sepoys to open gaps between their companies, the other for the Karlani horsemen to advance between them. Erbir continued with his plans, raising his voice above the din of the trumpets. "My own company will flank far to the right under Nimesh, the Ahids are to advance at speed, followed by the sepoy companies to the right of that cluster of trees" -Erbir gestured with a mailed hand, only continuing when a handful of men had nodded. He continued: "I will charge with the centre, I want the Emperor's decisions to be seen as guiding the battle, which indeed they are, I am fighting it. Flank the tied down cavalry, we shall break them, and close with their musketeers. Our own sepoys will advance, so that as the Chela cavalry withdraw, we shall close with their infantry before they can give us too many volleys. Questions?" Erbir looked at his senior officers. Confident grins, serious looks, nods of approval. A mood of excitement. "Carry on then! Khoda has given us another day to destroy his enemies!" He shouted, before swiftly dismounting his horse, and taking the reigns of Khātarīpūrvaka from his attendant, and mounted him single-handedly. He turned around to his bodyguards and grinned, before taking his lance from another attendant. He removed his axe from his belt, knowing that the Chelas were thinly armoured and tapped his sabre hilt.

Meeting the Challenge

Erbir rode forward, followed by his bodyguards, and joined the cavalry who were streaming through the ranks of sepoys, some of whom were terrified even by the presence of their own cavalry riding so close to them. They formed up, almost a dozen ranks deep, in front of the sepoys. Erbir was towards the centre, in the third rank. "FORWARD IN THE NAME OF KHODA!!!" he shouted. Banners dipped, horns blasted. A great cheer rose from the ranks of the Karlani horsemen, as they quickly moved into a trot, and rapidly into a canter. In this time the Chelas had closed most of the distance, their horsemen blocking the sight of their withdrawan musketeers. The Chela horse were thus closer to his own main lines than their own. Many of these particular horsemen were not horse-archers, unlike many of Karlani horsemen, as despite being Khodaist cavalry, many were in fact converts to the faith, and thus fought in the more close-up style of their Rajput counterparts.

They just about reached a gallop, though a few of the swiftest Chela riders had already reached the Khodaist lines and been consumed into their mass, their lives shortened by their haste. Erbir's horse thundered, and the ground itself seemed to rise and fall under the great forces of cavalry in their final approach. He lowered his lance, aiming it in the gap between the friendly riders ahead of him. A deep breath. Erbir closed his eyes. Let this be your last battle. Don't think. Just fight and die. You have done enough

A thunderous clash. Hundreds of men and horses killed, maimed and wounded within a dozen seconds. A Chela horseman passed between the Khodaists further ahead, Erbir opened his eyes and twitched his wrist to the left, his lancepoint aimed at the bottom of the man's incredible beard, just below his sternum. The Chela's eyes widened. In two heartbeats the man had been impaled on the lance, which Erbir had almost instantly let go of so as not to be wrenched from horse, and drew his sabre. A savage chop at a cloth arm and the crunch of bone, a swift slash at a beard and the flesh beneath it. A spray of hot blood upon the face. A desperate blinking of the eyes to clear them as he twisted to avoid a sabre aimed at the gap between his shoulder and jaw. Another man's horse slammed into the offending Chela's horse, knocking it before Erbir's. Khātarīpūrvaka reared up, flailing its hooves out, and head of the friendly horseman's mount, and the man himself were beaten by the iron horseshoes. Nothing could be done about it. The clash continued. Don't think, just kill until you are killed.

Ultimately, the Chela horsemen, were forced to withdraw as their casualties mounted, and Erbir urged his men onwards in pursuit. A dozen seconds of pursuit. The Chelas wheeled to either side, inevitably the last ones to wheel, those in the centre, were caught by the flanks of the Karlani horse. Musketeers stood unflinchingly. A volley at range. The front rank kneeled, another volley. Khodaist horses screamed as they were hit, but not necessarily fell, by musket balls. A musket ball smacked into Erbir's breastplate, and he swore as the impact bruised him. A trumpeter appeared next to him. "The retreat?" Erbir nodded. Though the momentum of the horsemen could probably carry them into the musketeers, they did not have the mass and the co-ordinated momentum to destroy the formation. The Khodaist horsemen retired out of range, though sustained moderate losses.

The Centre decides the battle, and the surrender of the Musketeers

Though Erbir's forces slowed in their push on the right flank, the initiative of the battle had shifted further left. Rockets suppressed the far left whilst the Chelas were bombarded intensely, until they charged. Alamgir expertly manoeuvred his forces, unleashing a simply devastating torrent of fire from the camel guns. The charge's power was dissipated, its strength lost as its component men bled upon the fields of Chajrapur. Their momentum diminished, they still flung themselves, high on faith, religion, desperation, and aggression, into the Karlani lines. They did not flee, and so were flanked by Ahids, led by the Emperor himself, who unleashed arrows before making way for elephants to devastate the Chela ranks. Erbir could make this out from watching the flags, and the colours of the formations, as well as the obvious updates from the messengers, but the messengers could not be blamed.

Erbir's forces advanced on the right, forcing the Chela left to stretch further and further, distancing themselves from the main body. Here numbers were a very clear advantage, as the Chelas, realising that the centre was soon to fall, struggled to react. Soon, a great cheer of KHODA! came from the Ahids, and the Chelas in the centre soon broke. Erbir sent his own Ahids, his personal company, and the majority of his cavalry hard on the right- on the enemy's extreme left, and co-ordination broke down. The Chelas farthest to Erbir's left broke from the battlefield, whilst their centre was run down. The broken-spirited Chela cavalry facing Erbir's forces fled the battlefield, whilst a number of Alamgir's cavalry and mounted Ahids rode to support Erbir's flanking manoeuvre. Before long, the Chela infantry were being surrounded and ruthlessly cut down. On only one side could they escape, and they were pressed together as they were pushed from the battlefield. The Chela artillery had been abandoned by its crews, but not before they had spiked the guns. Erbir's personal company under Nimesh had gone above and beyond, pushing their horses, before forming a long, staggered line, and were in front of ten times as many Chelas fleeing towards them. Yet the corraled them back, riding forward and cutting down the most desperate runners who wanted to break through the line. Surrounded, some clumps of men tried to surrender but were cut down. Others continued to fire, until their most senior commanders called for them to lay down their arms did they surrender. It took a while to restrain the Khodaist cavalry, especially the converts, though the Ahids were far more disciplined.

Ultimately, Erbir went to accept the surrender of the Chela warlord commanding the musketeers, but the man refused to surrender to Erbir, who insisted that he was only accepting the surrender on behalf of the Emperor. For a moment the bearded man had looked back to see if he could order his troops to pick up their arms, but already Nimesh had ridden his company down the middle, as had the Ahids, and the Chela musketeers were being split up into groups away from their weapons. It turned out the Chela commander had wanted to surrender his men to Erbir himself, so that they might be under his protection, but Erbir was duty bound to refuse this, and take the despondent man to the Emperor.

The will of the Padishah Emperor was predictable in this case.

Aftermath

The battlefield was looted, the enemy camp searched for valuables. The wounded were treated. Casualties accounted for. The enemy prisoners, wounded included, were put to death. Camp followers searched the enemy dead, finishing off the wounded themselves. That evening there was a feast. It was a great affair, with incredible quantities of wine provided. Perhaps that was why the supply convoy had been so long? For a long time Erbir dealt with matters of the battlefield, allowing the Emperor to focus on greater things, on politics. His Vizier dealt with administration of the army, responding to the many officers, nobles, and officials who were clearly eager to finish with their duties so that they may get involved with the festivities, or perhaps just to be able to sit down after a long and hard day. He had to deal with other matters of state too, as messengers and officials came from other parts of the realm with yet more work for him to do. Nimesh, loyally, stayed with Erbir, and brought him naan bread, watered wine, and some of Erbir's preferred dishes to sustain him over the next hour or so.

Erbir occaisonally looked over as the growing use of the captured Chela idols as latrines began to offend his nose, and he looked over the paperwork, parchments, and letters before him. He sighed as his stomach grumbled. You survived today. You survived again. You always do. But not forever. Duty until death. Busy until the burn of steel. Serving until severed from this world. What were these thoughts? What was this voice speaking to him? He had preferred the times after the Barwala campaign. Times he had been been almost bewildered at the nature of the world. Now it seemed that he was almost disappointed in it. His life was increasingly about serving others. Serving ideals. Serving the principle of order. Serving his brother, the Emperor. He wasn't serving himself and his men as much any more, he was using himself and his men to serve others. He wasn't even as fully maximising his position to benefit Dahari. It didn't feel like his anymore, at least not so much, when he had responsibility for so many other Subahs.

And then there was faith. Religion. That source of order. That source of chaos. Some of the most backstabbing and corrupt individuals were Khodaists, and were internal threats to the Peacock Throne, or the peace of the Crimson Court. Some of the finest soldiers and officers Erbir had led were not Khodaists. Yet relentlessly opposition to Khoda led to people waging rebellion and conflict against Emperor Alamgir, leading to more death. He didn't hate the pagans because the Kafrs because they were so. He was beginning to hate them because he had to kill them. Erbir sighed. He wasn't feeling himself. Nimesh placed a concerned hand on his shoulder.

He crouched down, and indicated to some of the twirling forms of the dancers. He grinned at Erbir and clapped his shoulder. "You have more than done your duties, my lord Vizier. Night came an hour ago at least. Only the moon is watching you now."
"And my brother and his court." Erbir said, smiling as he knew he would stop his work now. He gestured to his attendants- "get this cleared up and sorted, I shall continue tomorrow." He paused. "In the afternoon." He grinned. "Then get yourselves into the festivities." The attendants nodded, sighing a final sigh as they set about their last task for the evening. Erbir clapped his arm around Nimesh's shoulder, and strode out into the festivities.

He downed one cup of wine, and took another, raising his cup in the direction of the Emperor, bowing deeply as his gaze fell upon him. He promptly finished the cup, walked up towards an area of the cleaner Chela idols, and climbed up over a couple of large carved and decorated poles which were artistic gifts to Charudhara. Standing upon a pile of idols. Higher than any other soldier had pissed. He looked around, and a number of junior officers were watching him, as well as other party attendants. He briefly court the eye of Kazem Mirza ibn Farroukshiyar, another of the Emperor's brothers, and less than half his own age, and then turned towards the Emperor, again bowing deeply. He turned away from him, so as not to offend him, but was side on so as not to turn his back on him directly after making eye contact with him, and urinated upon the idols, prompting cheers from some of the more fervent, or youthfully invigorated officers and soldiers watching. He then descended swiftly down, riding a cascade of wooden idols, and was briefly torn between the dancers and the wrestling.

He could pull a dancer away later, he thought, and soon the others would be more and more drunken, and so he handed his garments to a bodyguard who was following him, who handed them to a non-drinking attendant, and beckoned Nimesh over to wrestle. It would be a good night after all, and he would feel more himself.
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Postby New Aeyariss » Sun Oct 09, 2022 2:35 pm

The Emperor gazed upon the festivities, observing the celebrations. Music was getting more and more louder, and movements quicker. Some men, too drunk, started falling on the floor. Only his ahids stayed sober, keeping the watch.

With edge of his eye, he noticed Kazem Mirza, with his lack of muscles native for the Karlani upper caste.

"This man will never be anything." but then a thought struck his head "Unless... that can work! Everyone will see him as useless... But if I give him title... He will be indebted to me! Weather or not he has talents does not matter if I lack the numbers..."

But then his eyes intercepted the Vizier climbing the pile of idols, and his subsequent display. Alamgir roared with laughter, laughing so loud he could be mistaken for a choir of frogs in June.

"At least I can always count on my Vizier" he continued the thinking "So far he has been loyal, and I need him to counter Nizam's power.."

He shuddered when thinking about his Amir Besa. The man did not make it to the battlefield on time, despite leading a large contingent of over twenty two thousand warriors from Shahmabad.

"But then again, if he came on time - would the Chelas even give battle?"

His thoughts were disrupted by the Vizier's sliding down. It was exactly at this point that the Emperor has realized, that he was bored. He rose then, and approached Erbir.

If there was anything that united pagans and Khodaists, it was koshti. The wrestling knew no bounds of religion, race or caste. Champion wrestlers attracted noble patrons who often allowed the lower classes a way out of poverty. It was a brutal sport, designed to teach the practitioners how to fight an armoured opponent. Though strikes were banned, chokes, joint-twising submission holds, neck cranks and powerful throws were a normal way of winning aside from pinning the opponent.

"Old friend" the Karlani ruler started "Care for a match?"

"I hope that I won't embarrass myself like my father who decided to resolve his dispute about couple border forts with Sher's father with a koshti match - and lost so badly songs were written about it."
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Ex-Nation

Postby Khasinkonia » Mon Oct 10, 2022 10:47 am

Roandriana Amira of the Hova
Battles Never Shorten


Like her husband, Roandriana spent much of her time at war. While he fought with weapons in the hot sun, she stayed in the shade, locked in battle the shadows that stalked the court, those of ambition and lust for power. But out here, while the Emperor was busy, it was ironically a moment of respite. Away from their quarters and the real privacy of the harem wing, all but the boldest and easiest to topple schemers were measurably more timid. The frequent disruption of getting up and moving could perhaps be blamed, or perhaps it was something else entirely.

Regardless, it was a pleasant break, even if the aftermath of the battle was a bit stressful to reckon with.

Roandriana rose with other early risers. She was well-adjusted to the more uncomfortable amenities of being away from the palace, much more so than many of her fellow members of court. It was better than some of those sleeping arrangements that sat at the far back of her memory, certainly, though it was hotter than she preferred. A part of this early rising was to be ready before most others were even awake—to look always ready to go meant that others might be less motivated to try and catch her off guard. But also, it meant being able to personally select the best-looking food at breakfast. The early morning cool was appreciable as well. In all, she quite liked the morning calm.

It wasn’t meant to last, of course. She took her seat at a good-enough vantage point—one that wasn’t so choice that she’d be fussed off by some military man who she perhaps nominally outranked but certainly didn’t get to question here, but also nice enough that she could see both camp and the battlefield. As the day drew on, the sharp-eyed Amira made a game of picking out the Emperor after she looked away to check on camp. It wasn’t difficult, but it gave her something to focus on.

After the battle, though, Roandriana quickly looked away, making sure to not view the corpses in any detail and steered clear of the executions. Though not squeamish, the dead of battle did unnerve her. These were dead who would not be known or named when buried, if they were buried at all. This was a breeding ground for angatra. Roandriana did not like to imagine gaining the attention of angatra who had once been warriors, especially those slain by men who stayed in her camp. Out of all of the harem, she made sure her tent was furthest from the soldiers for that reason and that reason alone. No spirits would disturb her sleep or frighten her in the night if she had any say in the matter.

A grimace flashed across Roandriana’s face as she tried to wipe the thought away. She had taken all the precautions she could—it would be the descendents of those unknown dead who would ultimately have to reckon with them.




By the time of the feast, Roandriana’s nerves had calmed. As many of the more war-inclined men celebrated loudly, her eyes settled on a boy. There were young men about, yes, some enlisted young, but this one really did seem more like a boy than a man. Perhaps it was his bearing, but it nonetheless was curious to Roandriana. She had seen him around court on occasion, but he hadn’t caught her attention before. The feasts after battles, unlike those within court, were not so rigid in structure. She took a seat across from him, and looked curiously for a second.

“May I ask, how old are you?” she inquired with a gently cocked head.

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Western Fardelshufflestein
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Postby Western Fardelshufflestein » Wed Oct 12, 2022 6:46 pm

Kazem Mirza ibn Farroukshiyar and Roandriana Amira of the Hova
Co-written with Khasinkonia


Kazem could not escape the scrutinizing eyes of half-strangers. Every time he looked up, it seemed, someone was watching him: a brother he barely knew, a young woman, even the Emperor himself. He very nearly locked eyes with Alamgir by happenstance, and a shiver ran through his limbs at the realization those eyes were fixated on him.

He swirled his wine around, not really drinking it. He didn't dislike wine, but he feared drinking too much would lead him to confess something he'd never be able to take back. The air was rank with urine from the more barbaric soldiers who let their sympathies toward the pagans be known; if that was allowed, if drinking wine was permitted and the Emperor could have a harem, why couldn't he love a man?

He didn't think much of it when the Amira-e-Haram sat across from him, though maybe he should have. He should have been on guard the moment she smiled at him and started addressing him, but he wasn't. He wanted to not worry. He wanted to feel normal.

"May I ask, how old are you?" she inquired in a soft voice.

Don't show your fear. "Seventeen."

It seemed to Roandriana that the question was surprisingly more loaded than she had anticipated. She looked at every detail of his face again.

"What brings someone of your age to a place like this?" This was a question she often wondered about the younger fighters, and she hadn't yet found a satisfactory answer. Perhaps this timid boy would stumble upon a grain of truth.

"My father was the late Emperor."

"So you're one of many," Roandriana confirmed, "Are you intent on being a warrior?"

Kazem bit his lip. "No."

"So I must ask, my friend, why you are here. I am here because I am married to the Emperor. Others are here to observe the battle. What brings you to this place?"

"I-I was observing it." Heat rushed to his face at her sudden assertiveness. "The Emperor brings all of us along to watch his battles. That's what I was doing."

Roandriana nodded with a knowing smile.

"Yes, but what point do you see in it? I'm curious to know. Why do you think you have been brought here?"

WF (Kazem) — Today at 6:49 PM
He'd never thought of that before. "Tradition? So the Emperor has his harem with him between battles?" He took a bite of his food; it was chewy, and it tried to stick to his throat on the way down. "I guess I'm here because they don't want to leave us alone."

Roandriana sat straight and made direct eye contact.

"Who do you believe is least trustworthy? That's why one keeps people close, after all. One either loves them or mistrusts them. Who in the court is here because they are loved, and who because they are mistrusted?"

Kazem scanned the crowd; he caught the eye of one of his brothers who used to tease him. He still felt his brother's eyes on him even as he turned back to the Amira - e - Haram. "I don't know. I don't think that's something the Emperor would share." It wasn't something he was privy to share, either.

"Oh no, he wouldn't. I wouldn't either. These are very loaded questions I'm asking. But that approaches my concern. You are an unassuming man. Do you consider yourself to be observant?"

"Why are you asking?" He lifted an eyebrow.

"Just curious," Roandriana responded. Her expression was calm, unassuming. Her hands were hidden from view under the table, and she bore a perfectly serene posture.

"Do you observe the court, do you feel that you often catch things that go on? Or are you more inclined to enjoy the comforts and rest easy with the notion that the shadows that stalk the court do not notice you either?"

"I like to watch, I suppose." He almost said more, then thought better of it. Anything he uttered could make its way to the Emperor.

But this is Alamgir, not your father. Things will be different now, right?

"For me, I don't like to watch, but it's my duty, so of course I must," she began, "If you do feel as though you tend to notice things, your opinion, regrettably, may not be what I'm looking for."

"Why is that?"

"Well, it is my aim that the games that courtiers play be kept discreet," Roandriana elaborated, "Both men and women. If they are to scheme, they should do so with a respect for the intelligence of others who only wish to preform their duties. If, to the eye of an innocent young man, they are also as untrustworthy as I find them, then they are not only snakes, but snakes who are ineffectual. It's disappointing, you know. I think the Emperor deserves to be surrounded by intelligent people who respect him, be they loyal or not. Disloyal fools are of no use to anyone, wouldn't you agree?"

"The fools also tend to be the loud ones," he grunted. "But fools are still dangerous. They can be used by anyone."

"So finding them is still useful, right?"

"Right." He cocked his head, frowning. "I am no fool. You want something from me, no?"

"Your eyes," she said, "I would like your eyes."

"Oh?"

Roandriana nodded.

"You see, I am a woman. This has its advantages, but also its share of problems. You are a man; you can find your way into places where I would be conspicuous."

"I can't get into many places, Amira. I'm not involved in...," he gestured vaguely in the Emperor's direction, "...anything like that."

"But you have your own circle, right?"

"I suppose. But I'm away from the thick of things. As of now." He examined the woman's features, the expensive cloths draped around her person. He could easily pick her out in a crowd, but if ever she needed to be hidden....

"I study languages, but I never go outside the Citadel. I could try to find places, but I'm sure someone would notice me if I went where I didn't belong."

Roandriana nodded, "I am generally unassuming, often underestimated. Are you?"

"You could say that."

"It's a useful trait. You can see things that you otherwise might not, hear things, and so on," she elaborated, "I am going to ask something of you. I use my own eyes and ears, but they are not always sufficient. I have other ways, but the best way to observe is with help. Before I continue further, I want to reiterate that I am loyal to the Emperor. He is my husband, and I wish only to make his life easier. Do you wish to help your brother?"

His breaths shallowed, became hasty. Is she really asking me to...? He raised his chin to hide the tremors that had suddenly come upon him. He wasn't sure whether she was trustworthy, but he figured he'd rather not garner her wrath were she truly an ally of Alamgir. Either way, it might bring him closer to the Emperor's circle. And if she turned out to be disloyal, he'd use her trust of him against her.

"In the name of the Emperor," he murmured.

Roandriana raised an eyebrow.

"I'll stop with the riddles. I do not like drama or whisperings in court. I try to keep the harem in check, but ambition is a difficult beast to manage. I want to work harder. As the Emperor fights harder to placate the empire, I wish to do the same for the court at large. I don't wish to ask anything of you, only this: If you see someone acting suspicious, hear whispers—anything of this sort—I would like to know. I will see to it that you are made to live comfortably, provided your comfort does not come at a cost to the stability of the court. You are not the only person I will speak with, but even if you do not accept, I would not like this to be widely known. Peace is quiet, and if people talk too loudly there is no quiet."

He didn't care much for living in comfort; his life was comfortable enough already. As long as his attendant stayed the same--.

"I accept. But on one condition."

Roandriana smiled a bit. A negotiation meant he was unwilling to do something for nothing. There was always a price to these things, but to admit to one, from her perspective, meant he could be trusted.

“And what is that?”

"I keep my servants." He swallowed and added, "It wouldn't be fair to replace them. And I know they can be trusted."

Roandriana’s composure broke for a moment. Surely that couldn’t be it, right? As she restored her expression, she still couldn’t divine as to why this, of all things, would be his request.

“And that’s all you need?”

He saw the startled flash in her face. It was brief, an almost imperceptible shift in her features, but it was there. "They are with me wherever I go. I can't be seen with new ones."

Roandriana nodded.

“That is easy. I will see that your attendants remain with you as long as you fulfill your end.”

After a brief pause, her eyes went to his food.

“What is it that you’re having?”
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Postby Reverend Norv » Thu Oct 13, 2022 1:04 am

The sun had sunk halfway behind the horizon. The evening air was cool; the light was ruddy gold; shadows lengthened over the battlefield. Badahor Abbas Mirza ibn Zahir Karlani noted that his own shadow was now almost twice as tall as he was, and did some quick calculations, and figured that the time was almost eight o'clock. Fewer than thirty minutes of daylight remained.

Abbas was alone. He was often alone after battles. A solitary figure in gleaming armor, he picked his way on foot over the battlefield, amid the cooling corpses. From where he stood, he could still see the slight rise where he had deployed his big guns and his rocket batteries. The zamburaks - six thousand zamburaks, an enormous force - had been sited further forward, behind the main body of the Karlani cavalry. It had taken Abbas six weeks of feverish work to plan the logistics necessary to supply such a large force; he had forward-deployed auxiliary supply columns and munitions depots to reduce the size of the main army's supply train. He thought of the maps back in his office in Khusraubad: huge maps of the north, marked by dozens of tiny bronze pins showing where the army would pass, and where supplies would be waiting for it.

Abbas walked on.

Here Akal Singh had deployed his own cannon. The big guns still rested amid the tall grass, spiked and useless. A dozen or so of the cannons were dismounted, and the gun carriages lay shattered where Abbas' artillery had destroyed them with counterbattery fire. The corpses of the Chela gunners remained too, draped over their ruined guns or dismembered where Karlani cannonballs had torn them limb from limb. Abbas nudged a severed arm out of the way with the toe of his boot. He paused, thoughtful. Twelve hours ago, the sun had been in these men's eyes; now, as Abbas stood in the same place, the sun was at his back. Time, time and angles, the marzban thought. That was the only difference between life and death.

Abbas walked on.

Here the enemy musketeers had fought. The earth was scorched from the blast of rocketry. Abbas' new, improved incendiaries had worked perfectly: after a few ranging shots to narrow down the parabolic curve, the remaining rockets had fallen right on the heads of the musketeers and forced them to retreat. Abbas crouched down next to a body: a black-burned husk, cracked and oozing, curled into the fetal position. For a long moment, Abbas just looked. Then he stood, and shook his head.

They had been magnificent soldiers, these men, Abbas thought. With ten thousand such men, and the imperial artillery corps, the whole rest of the Karlani army would be rendered superfluous. Disciplined platoon fire - a continuous hail of musketry - supported by field guns and high-angle rockets. That was the way of the future. No matter how much the Karlani loved horses, cavalry's days as the arm of decision were numbered. Soon, battles would be decided by firepower alone.

Abbas looked around one final time at the charred remains of the musketeers. He walked on.

Here the vizier and his horsemen had clashed with the Chela cavalry, before the enemy musketeers had reformed and refused the Chela left flank. Where the two sides had crashed together, the ground was carpeted with fallen horses and shattered shields. Many of the human bodies were unrecognizable, trampled by horse-hooves nearly into a paste, until all but the armor seemed amalgamated with the mud. The churning of the hooves had left the ground a wet slurry of earth and blood, and it sucked at Abbas' boots. Somewhere, buried beneath the other human and animal corpses, a dying horse screamed hopelessly over and over again.

Abbas paused at the sound. Then he walked on.

Here had been the right wing of the Karlani army, the pagan cavalry. Abbas had used his rockets to suppress the enemy left wing, and the pagans had dismounted and struggled forward, digging shallow foxholes in which to shelter while the rocketeers reloaded. Many men still lay in those foxholes, cut down by musketry as they tried to claw their way forward. One soldier - no older than sixteen, Abbas thought - remained huddled behind a low wall of earth. He was alive, curled into a ball, still panting with terror twelve hours after the battle had ended. It was a reality that every soldier knew: some wounds left no physical mark, but were mortal nonetheless.

Abbas cast a cool eye over the battlefield. This had been wasteful, he thought. There should have been a way to stagger the firing of the rockets, so that one battery was always firing while the other reloaded. That would have allowed the Karlani troops to make a continuous advance, without the need for these scrapes and ditches. Perhaps it would even have been possible to match the range of the rockets to the pace of the infantry's advance, laying down a continuous wall of fire in front of them - a creeping curtain of death to clear a path for the soldiers. Abbas could almost see the equations that would be required, the formula to convert feet per second to degrees of elevation per minute.

He cast one last look at the trembling boy, and knew that there was nothing he could do. Abbas walked on.

Here, at last, the Karlani center had stood; here the battle had ended. A low wall of dead men and horses was heaped up waist-high where the zamburaks had scythed down the Chela cavalry: reaping thousands of men in seconds, leaving them piled five or six corpses deep. Using the Karlani cavalry to screen the camel guns had been a clever idea; Abbas had to give Alamgir credit for that much. The Chelas would never have charged so recklessly had they known that they were riding into six thousand blasts of grapeshot.

As Abbas climbed over the heaped mass of corpses, he wondered whether that would have been such a bad thing after all.

And here Alamgir had killed Akal Singh. The very idea offended Abbas. If a battle could be won because one man killed another with his sword, then why had Alamgir not simply dueled the Chela commander? Why had one hundred thousand other men also been required to stand on this field and slaughter each other, if victory had ultimately required only one swing of Alamgir's blade? It was ludicrous; worse, it was grotesque. There was no distinguishing Akal Singh's corpse from any of the other Chelas and ahids who lay dead around Abbas' boots. Was it really possible that so many thousands of wives had become widows, all just so that Alamgir could kill one man?

Monstrous. The idea was monstrous.

Abbas walked on.

The sun had set almost fully by the time the marzban neared the Karlani camp. Most of the army had looted the Chelas' supplies and was drinking itself into a stupor with the enemy's wine. Abbas' artillerymen were made of sterner stuff. They stayed by their guns, the way Abbas had trained them. Some gun crews were still sponging bores fouled with soot, even all these hours after the battle's end; other officers inventoried each battery's remaining supplies. The men looked up as Abbas passed among them, and nodded or saluted. Sometimes Abbas returned the salute, and called out a man by name to commend him for a well-aimed shot, or to praise a swiftly-corrected firing solution. But mostly Abbas was quiet, and the artillerymen did not press him. They knew their commander well enough to understand his mood after battle.

Abbas walked on.

He was in the main Karlani camp now. A pyramid of severed heads towered above him. Most of the Chela musketeers had survived the battle, and surrendered. Abbas supposed that their heads were probably part of this pyramid now, too. The Chela women and children were penned up nearby. A Karlani soldier had one of the women pinned against the fence. Her face was turned away as the man raped her; her eyes were fixed on the thousands of severed heads, searching the pyramid for one particular face.

Abbas felt sick. He was distantly surprised that he was still capable of that reaction. He walked on.

Ahead was an enormous embroidered tent, where the Emperor and his courtiers and his generals were feasting. Dancing girls writhed nearby; next to them, men wrestled, having somehow not yet drunk their fill of struggle. Courtiers who had not been within a mile of the battlefield swilled wine and stumbled into each other's arms and congratulated each other on a great victory.

The Chela idols had been piled high some distance from the camp, and turned into a latrine. Erbir Mirza, the new Vizier, had clambered up to the top of the heap before relieving himself. To cheers from the court, he stuffed his cock back in his trousers and slid back down the pile of idols.

Really, that was all that this battle had been about, Abbas thought: whose gods would get pissed on. That was what all those men had died for. It had all been so that Khodaists could piss on Chela gods, instead of letting the Chelas piss on Khoda. Abbas could smell the reek of urine even over the aroma of spiced curries and fresh-baked bread.

A coal of anger burned in his gut. If this was Khoda's will, then Khoda deserved to be pissed on.

For a moment, Abbas looked at Alamgir, and he thought he saw a shadow of his own doubts darken the Emperor's face. But then Alamgir turned back to his bowl of korma, and grinned at his brother Erbir, and Alamgir challenged the Vizier to a wrestling match.

Being angry at the Emperor was the very definition of futility. Abbas walked on.

Nearby courtiers quieted as the Butcher of Jamsar approached the banquet table. The stench of black powder wafted into the tent with him; Abbas' face and hands were still stained with soot. He grabbed some naan and a joint of tandoor-roasted lamb, and turned. He would eat back on the battlefield, he thought, leaning against a cannon among his artillerymen. They would talk about calibers and azimuths, and then about homes and sweethearts, and eventually he would feel better.

But before he could make good on his plan, two figures caught Abbas' eye. He recognized Roandriana, of course. The Amira-e-Haram was a famous beauty from a distant land, and Abbas had often wished for the chance to ask her about her home, of which Karlani records told so little. In Khusraubad, such a conversation would be suspect; what business could the marzban of the imperial artillery have in the harem? But perhaps here, in the aftermath of battle, fewer eyebrows would be raised.

Roandriana's companion was even more interesting, though. The Amira-e-Haram was deep in conversation with Kanem Karlani, one of the Emperor's youngest - and, by reputation, least impressive - brothers. Abbas had been raised at court, but he had been sent away to Hingoli while Kanem was still a small child; he recognized the prince, but had never exchanged more than a few words with him. Roandriana, though, seemed to find this callow youth - noted neither for physical strength nor for scholarly acumen nor for rhetorical eloquence - nothing short of fascinating: she spoke quickly and quietly, and her eyes were fixed on Kanem's face.

That, Abbas thought, was enough in itself to make Kanem interesting.

The prince and the Amira-e-Haram seemed to be finishing their conversation. Abbas approached and took a seat across from the pair of them. He was a lean, weathered figure; he might have been anywhere between thirty and fifty years of age. His movements were stiff with exhaustion. The marzban wore exceptionally beautiful armor, but it was streaked with black-powder soot, and the smell of smoke traveled with him. At his side was sheathed a tulwar that Kanem and Roandriana might recognize from its depiction in the oldest murals of the Crimson Citadel: the blade of the first Karlani emperors, retained by the direct descendants of Khan Rustam after Murad Shah was deposed. It was the one visible sign of the royal blood that flowed in the veins of this soot-stained artillery officer.

"My lady. Prince Kanem." Abbas' voice was still slightly hoarse from hours of shouting orders over the thunder of the heavy guns, but his tone was smooth and practiced, and it was suddenly obvious that he had spent his youth at court. "I am Badahor Abbas, the marzban of the Emperor's artillery. I believe we may have met in passing." Abbas' eyes - grey as gunmetal - shifted to Roandriana. "I dabble in scholarship in times of peace, my lady, and so I hope you will not ascribe any corrupt motive to a scholar's curiosity. May I prevail upon you to share an anecdote of your homeland? Hardly anything is written of it in the Karlani archives."
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Fri Oct 14, 2022 12:50 am, edited 3 times in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
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Of the Quendi
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Postby Of the Quendi » Thu Oct 13, 2022 8:46 am

Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal, the Jewel among Women, was not enjoying her master's celebratory feast. It reminded her more than a little of the bacchanals of her childhood in Vijayanagara. The same excessive drinking and prodigious gluttony indulged by the participants. The same immodest behavior from half naked dance girls, exciting the baser passions of the men who could scarcely be bothered to seek privacy before mating like animals with captured slaves. Loud and drunken arguments between drunks and drunkards, braying and howling at one another like jackals, unable to utter a word of sense or reason; yes it had a decided feel of Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal's childhood. Only the grotesque latrine would have been out of place at the Vijayanagara of Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal's youth. Even at his worst Bindusara of Vijanayagara had never thought it proper to erect a latrine of captured enemy relics and idols and allow his men to relief themselves on it in full view of his entire court, including his womenfolk.

Seated alongside the other concubines of the middle ranks of the complex harem hierarchy Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal cast a pained look at her master. What did it say of Nasr ud-Din Ali Shah Karlani ibn Farroukshiyyar, the Padishah Emperor Alamgir, World Conqueror, and her master that he had somehow managed to conceive of a depravity not first thought by that most consummate degenerate Bindusara of Vijayanagara? Nothing good to be sure. Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal visibly winced as Alamgir's brother and vizier relieved himself upon a Chela idol to Alamgir's howling laughter. What men where they that they could find amusement in such shameful conduct, she thought lowering her head in sadness and embarrassment. She had spent half her life, in some form or another, running away from her father, yet she found herself the concubine of a man who, for all the obvious differences, was as given to vice and debauchery.

Yet that was her lot in life. She would bear her yoke with dignity even if no one else at the Karlani court would comport themselves with dignity, and if she was fanning herself with a somewhat demonstrative vigor it was less a display of disdain and more a genuine displeasure at the rather strong smell of urine.

Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal had entered the imperial harem at the age of eighteen and had not yet spent two years at the Karlani court. However revolting the night's festivities was to her she had not generally found life at court hard or difficult. Boredom was the greatest problem. If most of the concubines was satisfied to spend their life waiting to the summoned to the emperor's bed and scheming with or against one another for that very privilege, Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal found this tedious in the extreme. Determined to do her duties she nevertheless had no particular desire to be summoned by Alamgir or to bear his children. But there was only so much else one could do in the seclusion and isolation of the harem. Fortunately her beloved brother Karna, though he had had little to spare, had bequeathed his sister a sizable fortune before departing for Vijayangara. She now owned a few merchant ships carrying spices and silk and patronized a Khodaist shrine (her one great capitulation to her master's religion), which she could busy herself tending to through the eunuchs of the court.

Still one could only spend so much time moving money around, so Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal had had to learn to observe the court as a way of finding stimulation of her intellect and imagination. Behind the veil of purdah she could see without herself being seen. This was what she now did. Turning her gaze from the vizier and his shameful display she allowed her gaze to wander through the tent, looking for familiar faces and trying to guess which courtier had favor and which did not. It was little more than an idle game for her, even if the stakes could not be higher when most of the court "played" a similar game. But that constant jostling for position and power held no allure for Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal.

A grimace of displeasure briefly marred her fair countenance under her veil as her attention was drawn towards the entrance of the tent where a man entered. Badahor Abbas Mirza ibn Zahir Karlani was a man of ill repute. The Butcher of Jamsar he was called, and though Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal, who of course had never spoken with the man, knew little about whether the name was apt or not she had a rather more personal reason to dislike the rugged Mazdan-e-Dukhani; he was known to be building fortresses near her brother's kingdom, and that she could not easily forgive him. She followed the man's steps as he walked through the tent. She was greatly surprised when he stopped next to a woman so dark skinned that Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal could recognize her even under her veil. Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal turned to look up at the head of the table of the harem women. Yes indeed, Roandrianda had apparently snuck away from the head of the table. Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal smirked bemused and looked back at Amira-e-Harem wondering what had prompted that decision.

Zinat-un-Nissa's overseer appeared to have been in conversation with a boy on the cusp of manhood when the Mazdan-e-Dukhani accosted them. Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal thought the youth might be one of Alamgir's younger halfbrothers; Kazem or Youssef was his name she believed. What the Amira-e-Harem had to say to her husband's brother Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal did not presume to know, but if the Amira-e-Harem could leave the table then perhaps so could she. Having long since finished her own meal (a little tandoor roti and some vegetables with some water to drink), Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal had no desire to stay any longer than absolutely necessary at her master's bacchanal. She quickly got up and began walking towards the exit of the tent. An urdubegi, a large hulking woman by the name of Aisha, followed behind Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal, ostensibly to keep her safe though both women knew that any man who could best even an unarmed Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal in a fight would make short work of Aisha. One did not practice martial arts with the Nagarajah's guardsmen without learning a thing or two beyond the grasp of even the most skilled mortal warriors. Still Aisha's presence might deter unwanted attention and in any case Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal was happy enough for the company. As she walked slowly towards the exit she looked back at her master. He seemed about the wrestle the vizier. A better way of spending his time than his drinking and laughing at his own grotesque latrine to be sure, Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal thought as she tried to sneak away from the unseemly feast.
Nation RP name
Arda i Eruhíni (short form)
Alcarinqua ar Meneldëa Arda i Eruhíni i sé Amanaranyë ar Aramanaranyë (long form)

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Khasinkonia
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Postby Khasinkonia » Thu Oct 13, 2022 10:29 am

Roandriana Amira of the Hova
A Tale for the Scholarly Vulture


Roandriana’s gaze snapped from Kazem’s dish to the Mazdan-e-Dukhani. A flash of relief was quickly replaced by the reminder of who stood before her. The glare that erupted from her eyes was just as quickly washed over and replaced by her usual demure smile. It was loud, and loud meant her nerves were not at their best.

She sat up perfectly straight, reverting from her more casual approach with Kazem to the rigid but serene persona she preferred to present to the court at large. As vicious as this man could be, he stood before her asking for nothing more than a small story.

“My homeland?” she repeated. She tapped her fingers on her other hand, “It’s been many years now…”

She trailed off for a moment.

“My homeland is a great island to the south of here, as you may know. Though not as vast as this land, it is just as diverse, geographically speaking. There are great forests, deserts, and everything in between. I come from the Highlands, and am of the Highlanders. My father oversaw some of the many great rice paddies that surround the capital — The City of the Thousand. It was in those beautiful terraces that I grew up.”

Roandriana paused once again.

“I was not an interesting child, I must concede. I was well-behaved and, as a daughter of a reasonably well-off man, I did not participate in field work. That was a job for slaves, you see. If it’s an anecdote you want, then I suppose I can recount to you one that sticks with me, fresh, even today. I’m afraid it’s a morbid one, but it’s all I can offer you.

In my land, my kin are pagans. We are strongly connected to the dead, so even now, for example, I shun the unknown corpses of the battlefield. Something deep within me, past the conscious mind, even below faith itself, fears for those who have died and are not tended to by their kin, those who do not have the privilege of being buried and remembered.

We—my people, that is—do not hold funerals in a way familiar to you. We do not burn our dead, like many pagans do here, nor do we bury them in the ground. Those who are able, including my family, build great crypts. My people make them from stone, partially underground, where the dead lie on bunks and are wrapped carefully in silk.

To my kin, death is not final. Life is all that is temporary; death is the state that most exist in. The dead are with us, very tangibly so. They watch over us and we have very real continuing relationships with them. That is why in my land, we visit the tombs whenever we can. We give our ancestors space. Their land, tanindrazana, is located away from where we living folk live, a short journey away, but a journey nonetheless.

My mother’s brother had died; he was her only living sibling, and no-one but her in that generation had been able to make a family. In recognition of this, it was agreed upon by my grandparents that the family tombs be merged. My mother’s ancestors would join those of my father so that they might continue to have their shrouds tended to.

Understandably, this called for a great famadihana. I regret to say I cannot translate some of these words for you. If you do not understand me as I speak, then I cannot help you any further.

Aunts, uncles, even siblings of my grandparents—they all came together for this great ceremony. It was very costly to my father, of course, but to hold a famadihana is a sacred act. It is a repeating event that we must continue to do in order to reaffirm our connection to those who are no longer in living bodies.

I was just a young girl then, perhaps ten years of age. I was too young to truly grasp the importance of our traditions themselves, but I did recognize that we were in a special time and a special space. For me, this was because I saw distant cousins, girls my age, with whom I could socialize and participate in the feasting. I loved my siblings, yes, but as the eldest, one can feel a bit peripheral in terms of social relationships. For my parents, this was more important. All of us were together with the ambiroa.

I wish to clarify now that I am away from these lands and no longer deal with death. Perhaps it is the instinctual ties to family within me that still feels inclined to believe that a good Khodaist ought to see the graves of their family too, but that is not the way things are dictated in the scriptures.”

Roandriana sighed. She blinked her eyes once with force to stymie any further display of strong emotion on the matter.

“I can say, though, that for the pagans where I come from, it may be difficult to differentiate between matters of culture and matters of faith. That is a distinction that seems more discreet here than where I came from, where local faith changed slightly with the location as culture and language does.”

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New Aeyariss
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Postby New Aeyariss » Thu Oct 27, 2022 5:31 pm

OOC: This is basically a glorified bump. I have Ovtsylap's permission. I let the Emperor win because I doubt anyone would want to offend the Emperor by defeating him in a wrestling match.

The vizier agreed, and two men removed their clothes, both now half naked, with only loincloths covering their private parts. The emperor moved his well muscled body, and stood in the stance, right leg forward and weight fully on it.

The two men circled each other, like tigers fighting over a prey; both moving slowly, gauging distance and time. Slowly, their hands interacted as both of them tested the enemy's defence; they twisted and turned like two cobras coiled together.

Then, Alamgir struck.

It took the Emperor a second to lower his stance and drive his knee into the ground, barging straight between the legs of the vizier. Erbir attempted to counter the movement by driving backwards, but the Emperor's tackle was too much, and soon the Mirza found himself in the air, flung on the ground...

But Erbir was a veteran warrior, who used the wrestling techniques against many armoured on many fields of battle. He swiftly regained composure, rolling and moving his knees under him. Then, despite all the strength of Nasr ud-Din bearing on him, the vizier stood up with a terrible groan. The emperor increased pressure on Erbir's belt... and then the Vizier bowed, grabbed Almgir's leg and rolled forward, trapping the Emperor in a painful knee lock.

Alamgir felt pressure falling on his knee, with a terrible pain; but had no intention of giving up. He rolled, and grabbed the vizier's own leg, attacking the toe with a hold. Both men struggled, like roaring lions lunging on each other; then understanding that neither can win, they let go, finding themselves without contact.

Now it was Erbir who shot for the Emperor's leg, but Alamgir was ready. The vizier caught only one, and applied pressure with his shoulder to take him down; Alamgir pushed the vizier's head aside, then bowed, grabbed the vizer's leg and threw him, using his leg as a fulcrum. The vizier impacted the sand, sending geysers of soil in the the air; and the Emperor was on him.

Padishah pinned his Vizier's hand to the ground, and suck his other hand under it. Now, the vizier's hand was locked in a figure - four lock, Alamgir's hips giving it strength. The old warrior tried to shrimp away with his hips, but in vain. The pressure was too much, and with a groan, the vizier admitted defeat.

"That was a good match, old friend." Alamgir stood up and extended his hand to Erbir, now laying on the ground.

"He did not take me seriously." the Emperor thought "But who would want to risk offending the Padishah by defeating him anyway? Being a ruler is tiresome at times. "
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Postby New Aeyariss » Thu Nov 03, 2022 9:02 am

OOC: Co-written with Khasinkonia and Western Fardelshufflestein.

I will follow this with another post tomorrow, ending the festivities arc.




Kazem flinched when the man stained with the grime of war said his name wrong. He tried not to show it on his face, but he was sure this man was shrewd enough to pick out fractions of emotion. He knew a thing or two of Abbas, the lord from a faraway part of the Empire. It was impossible not to. The whispers that passed between his brothers had constructed an Abbas that was somewhere between civilized and barbaric, a man with rustic ways and military prowess.

He listened to Roandriana, not bothering to interject. This was one of many occasions when it was better to remain silent. When she finished her tale, he stared sidelong at her for a moment, piecing together the shreds of her past and filling in the blank spaces in her timeline. "Your people believe dead are never really gone," he intoned. "You have not brought any of these dead with you?"

Roandriana shook her head.

For my family, I am the one who is dead. I can only imagine that they are profoundly worried for me, after all these years, with no body to wrap and put in the family crypt.

"I wonder if any of the fallen devas would come to them in your form and let them believe as such. But questions of theology are not my area of interest."

Roandriana shook her head again.

That is not quite how it works. I would, to them, be one of the unknown dead, like those soldiers in the field. Unburied, unseen, and forgotten. But I cannot speak to if they have seen fallen Devas. I never have, not to my knowledge, at least.

And then another man entered the conversation.

Mahmoud Feedowsi was certainly not the tallest individual. He could be recognized due to his long beard and large turban he worse.

The court poet sat near the parties, and listened to the conversation.

Roandriana’s eyes shot towards the poet. She looked back to Kazem and then to Abbas, with an eyebrow raised ever so slightly.

Kazem wanted to press the question further, but he sensed he was teetering upon the verge of heretical territory and pulled away. He fiddled with his food, swirled around his untouched goblet of wine. He eyed Abbas now, a corrective sentence upon his lips; this man had, after all, mispronounced Kazem's name.

Mahmoud ignored Roandriana's talk. If was well known that the Amira did not particularly fit the ideal of Khodiaist woman: but as long as she did not make it a problem, he let pass.

The poet decided to switch the topic:

"I am glad we were given a time to rest" he spoke "I fear that my Lord Padishah will dart on another campaign as soon as he finishes his business here. It is a pity. For all his glory in battle and piosuness, his majesty has insufficient time to learn the higher arts."

The poet lowered his voice:

"Not to offend his Majesty, but a pack of tormented cats sounded better than his Majesty's attempts to master the flute."

Kazem raised his eyebrows at the newcomer but allowed him to speak. When he finished, Kazem considered the words of the fellow--the bearded man was a courtesan of sorts, but Kazem knew not his name--and commented, "He has to practice a great deal before he'll sound any good, and you said yourself he doesn't have time for that. Of course he doesn't play well. Perhaps if he had more people around him invested in the fine arts, he'd be more inclined to them."

"Perhaps so" countered the poet "But his Majesty of of recently has only Khoda and war in his head."

"What is your connection to the Emperor?"

"Merely acquaintance. I act as his tutor in fine arts. And I write his victories down in verse for next generations to remember. He pays me one dinar per verse."

Kazem lifted his brows. "Oh. You're a poet. And his scribe. Tell me--how fares my brother with languages?"

"As efficiently as a pig carrying a load," joked the poet "his Majesty can do it, but does not mean it is a good idea to try."

"Perhaps he could use someone skilled in many tongues."

"Perhaps so. Albeit I know that his Majesty wants me to make an Ärdu dictionary. He wishes to ensure that Ärdu will be the most prominent language in the Empire."

Kazem couldn't help but let a smile slip onto his face. "Oh?"

"Well his Majesty believes that learning Ardu will make it easier for his subjects to understand imperial orders. He plans to open a school in each subah aimed at education of the Kshatriyas and nobles."

Now Kazem's smile was fixed. "How is His Majesty's Ardu?"

"Acceptable. Don't ask about his Khodani or any of the Vrishan languages though. "

"I see."

The conversation went for a while, before the festivities died out. The guests thanked each other, and left.

Inside his majesty's tent, Ferdowsi stood before the Emperor.

"So, how did you find Kazem Mirza?"

"Young, inexperienced, with zero military skills." the poet countered "But seems well read and generally smart. I am of the opinion that making him a zamindar won't lead to ruin of Barna Subah."

"That is perfect!" smiled the Emperor "Now he will be indebted to me. Even if he will be just a mere provincial zamindar... my faction could always use another member."
Last edited by New Aeyariss on Thu Nov 03, 2022 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ovstylap » Thu Nov 03, 2022 12:22 pm

The two men circled each other, like tigers fighting over a prey; both moving slowly, gauging distance and time. Slowly, their hands interacted as both of them tested the enemy's defence; they twisted and turned like two cobras coiled together.

A match against the Emperor? An honour to be sure, though of course it came with choices of its own. To defeat the Emperor would perhaps ashame him, yet he would respect a good fight. Erbir also knew that the Emperor was still a dozen years younger than him, and had perhaps had a less physically challenging battle, albeit one more mentally taxing. Still, Erbir knew that his chances were even in a deliberate fight, in question. Ideally he would have had some time to warm up and fight another opponent, but he would not shun the Padishah Throne.

"Of course, it would be an honour" Erbir grinned. They both undressed, and Erbir adopted a stance to match the Emperor. They began to circle, their bare feet gripping the layer of sand which had been deposited across the area the wrestling was taking place. Erbir raised his hands, and the Emperor did likewise, their hands gripped, or they would grip one another's forearms, applying pressure, leaning forward, testing one another's tension and reactions.

Then, Alamgir struck.

Erbir noticed the Emperor widen his eyes slightly, and tensed his legs to drive, as Alamgir dropped a knee and barged forwards. Erbir's counter failed, and soon he was flung to the ground. For a moment Erbir remembered when he was unhorsed by a rebel spearman in his twentieth year, and how he had had to fight off multiple opponents before he was even able to stand up again, but his armour had prevailed against the peasant rebels' efforts.

His energy returned, and he rolled so that his knees were beneath him. Despite his dozen years of seniority, he was still able to force his feet against the thinning layer of sand, and stand up. The pain in his calves irritated Erbir, even a couple of years ago in the build up to the Barwala campaign he would have fared better. Erbir considered flinging Alamgir over his shoulder, but didn't think that he could get a good enough grip and so went for a risky knee lock. Knowing that this would cause great pain, the Vizier had a moment of panic when he thought that the Emperor's knee would give way, but then he rolled and grabbed his own leg. They struggled, struggled, struggled. In vain, they let go, and took a few breaths for a handful seconds.

He dashed forward, hoping that Alamgir would anticipate a couple more moments rest, but he dodged one leg to the side, but Alamgir pushed his head aside, and briefly the world was on its side, the spectators horizontal, and he had thumped onto the ground. The Emperor was soon atop him, and locked his hand, and he found himself frustrated as he did not have the breath to throw the Emperor off of him. "Aghhh. I yield."

"That was a good match, old friend." Alamgir stood up and extended his hand to Erbir, now laying on the ground.

"He did not take me seriously." the Emperor thought "But who would want to risk offending the Padishah by defeating him anyway? Being a ruler is tiresome at times. "

Erbir grasped his brother's hand and was pulled to his feet, and he grinned, wiping the dust down from himself. Erbir smiled. "A good match indeed my Emperor, thank you for encouraging my humility. These are fine celebrations, the men are happy." He looked towards the pile of idols. "Perhaps a few of your courtiers are less impressed by the actions of men relieving themselves..." he grinned at his own slight word play, "of the strains of battle."

They both accepted a drink from willing courtiers, and wiped themselves down. Erbir would rest a while, before throwing himself back into the fray, allowing himself to rag his body against courtiers, officers, and even a couple of professional wrestlers. That night he would go to bed completely exhausted, but before he fell asleep, he thought about life.

In recent battles, and in some of the bouts, he had found himself having flashbacks to previous battles, and felt that his own energy was lower. He found it all frustrating, and considered things in that period of semi-consciousness before sleep comes with eager appreciation as when a friend arrives for an offered meal. Either there was something beginning to go wrong as he proceeded in being middle-aged, and he should take a rest. That or he needed to get back into things, to conquer his growing fear of close-calls, and fight like a youth again. "I need a campaign. I need a war. It's what I'm made for. But this time, I'm not just going to lead it. I'm going to fight it."

Erbir would drift off into a sleep, his body exhausted and aching, appreciating that he had both been able to steer clear of court intricacies, and that he had sweated away the drink of the evening.
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Western Fardelshufflestein
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Postby Western Fardelshufflestein » Thu Nov 03, 2022 1:31 pm

Kazem Mirza ibn Farroukshiyar

I did not think tonight would go the way it did.


He paused, scrunched his eyes together in thought. The sentence seemed less and less valuable as the exhaustion-drenched seconds slogged on, but he had already written it. He wouldn't scrub it out.

By that, I mean I did not expect anything to be gained from it. I think meeting with the Amira will turn out to be a gain, but I may be of more use to her than she is to me. I assume she is loyal to the Emperor--how could she be anything but loyal--and I trust her in everything but my heart. I would like to work with her more before I decide whether she is a worthy ally.

I met a poet today who says he is the tutor of my brother. I talked with him some and learned what I suspected: the Emperor is not one for the arts or languages. He is lettered, but he does not have the gift of language. I think I should


No, Kazem couldn't write that. He frowned and bit the corner of his mouth. Such an ambition was little more than fantasy, and he had to acknowledge that. But it seemed less a fantasy after tonight.

I think I should pursue the idea of being his interpreter.


Hidden behind oily light came a smile.

He wrote more of the displays of debauchery and the ripe masculinity, the latter of which made his heart pump in his wrists. He restrained himself, though, made the descriptions as objective as he could. After all, someone could always decipher his journal. He could not abandon that possibility. He trusted his servants, especially Hasan, but few others. He did not know if anyone had the motive to sneak into his quarters and search for evidence against him. He had done nothing wrong and was pious otherwise. If the Emperor could have a harem, he could love a boy.

Loyalty mattered, and in a harem there was no loyalty. Or rather, it went only in one direction. It was sinful to love someone other than the person you'd been sworn to; it was not sinful for that person to be of his sex.

Kazem slid his journal under his pallet and drew his knees to his chest.
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PART 2: THE DRUBAR

Postby New Aeyariss » Fri Nov 04, 2022 10:04 am

PART 2: THE DRUBAR
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Next day, when sun hit the noon, the durbar session was assembled. Large crowds of men, dressed in elegant robes, headed to a massive yurt mounted on a cart - a reminder of Karlani's ancient steppe past. The tent was large enough to fit the whole court, with elaborate decorations inside. Costly carpets laid at the floor. The Emperor, who today chose to wear a large white turban decorated by peacock feathers and a blue robe, sat at a golden throne on a platform, lifting him over other courtiers. Erbir Mirza sat to his right, to his left - The Archpriest of Khoda, a scroll of divine laws resting next to him. Two servants fanned them the entire time to provide comfort for the important persons. In front of them, dressed in ceremonial uniforms, but fully armed, stood ahids ready to react to any treachery.

On his sides, stood hordes of bureaucrats, vassals and other officials, who will be allowed to voice their opinions. Further in stood minor officials, Imperial Wives and lower ranked officers.

After the short prayer performed by the Archpriest in order to obtain guidance of Khoda's divine spirit in this session of the durbar, the voice of the Emperor boomed:

"My honest freinds..." the Emperor begun "Khoda has granted us a great victory, but the matters are not settled yet. In a test to our faith, Khoda has surrounded our country with foes. Sher stands at our northern border, with all his might. My... " here the Emperor spat "Former friend forments rebellion to the south. Even with Akal dead, there are other misils ready to step in. And as such, I do believe that we need to take additional, radical measures."

Here the Emperor paused:

"Long have I prayed to Khoda for an answer, but none came. Hence I am forced to relay on wisdom he had given me. We can not afford war on all fronts, not with the resouces we have. Therefore.. " the Emperor paused "I have planned that I will take three steps to ensure peace."

"First, I will seek peace with Sher Shah Bari. I will offer him a hand of my daughter in marriage as a way of cementing the alllaince."

Waves of fury and astonishment waved over the crowd. Some courties stood up, others raised their fists; others protested with cries of outrage.

"Your majesty wants to marry your majesty's daughter to an accursed ghulat?" roared in rage some minor official "Your majesty, please reconsider. Sher follows the Tawhid and..."

"SILENCE! I know how vile Tawhid is." countered the Emperor in anger "However fact remains that of all out possible foes, Sher has largest army. Not only that, but he also has something that Chleas, Vijayanagarans and others lack - money. If he and my former... friend attack us at once, we will be in a dire situation."

"Your majesty, Khoda will save us! Don't..."

"I am not denying that Khoda can save us. Yet Khoda also tests his faithful. Are you a prophet to know his will?"

The humiliated courtier stopped talking and lowered his head in defeat.

"Furthermore..." the Padishah Emperor went on "Once we have a deal with Sher, we will mobilise all available forces of the Empire for a campaign against Viajayanagara and crush that cesspit of rebellion once for all. Our all available forces ought to be enough for this."

"I am not denying that we could defeat Vijayanagara with our available forces." another courtier entered the debate "But that leaves us open to the chelas. Given time, another Singh could emerge to fill the gap left by Akal."

"Which brings me to the third point of my plan." the emperor explained "The chelas gained following in the Barna Subah because the last zamindar was corrupt. That led to his death. I will be appointing a new zamindar."

Silence fell on the room. All eyes fell on the Emperor, who in turn turned his eyes on Kazem.

"My friend, Mhamoud Ferdowsi, has informed me that one of princes of the blood has not yet received a post suitable for his lineage. I therefore plan to appoint Kazem Mirza as zamindar of Barna, with the province given to him as a jagir. His task will be to rebuild Barna Subah and prevent another rebellion."'

The entire court's eyes turned on Kazem, who now was in center of the attention.

"Now he will be indebted to me." Alamgir thought "And my faction will gain a new member."
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Postby New Aeyariss » Wed Nov 16, 2022 12:32 pm

The third haven was a land of wonder, which mortal eyes have rarely seen. Gleam of luminescent light was everywhere, illuminating the structures of pure white marble that seemed to reflect all light.

In the middle of the third heaven laid the divine durbar, where Khoda and all the devas jointly debates the future of the world. Today, the council was assembled for a session.

The place of the assembly resembled a sea of glass or crystal, with a substance so clean one could see his reflection. In the middle stood a pyramid with a removed top, upon which stood a massive throne. From it shone a light brighter than thousand suns, and no one could see who was sitting on it. Rainbow surrounded it from all sides. Next to it stood twenty four thrones, upon which sat beings resembling old men; each wearing a white robe and with a crown on his head.

In front of the throne stood four, terrifying chimeric creatures. Each of them had eyes protruding from their bodies, and gleaming in all directions.

Then gathered various beings taking part in the divine durbar - both the loyal devas, and the disloyal devas whom Khoda had to tolerate until their time was through.

"It looks like you could not stop your beloved Chelas from being defeated, Chalapudra." spoke one of the loyal Devas, a simorgh named Abdalkadir. He had body of a lion, with torso of a man protruding from where lion's head would be. On his human head was a golden crown, and feathered wings erupted from his back "No matter how much help you gave them."

Abdalkadir could see the being named Chalapudra turn towards him. It was indeed a vile entity - she looked like a human woman, but had a red skin. Countless arms danced around her, and three faces emerged out of her head. She wore a necklace of skulls, holding various weapons in her numerous hands; and third eye on her forehead seemed go gaze into his very existence with unending hatred.

"Thisss isss attrociousss!" the entity hissed "The Karlani Emperor did not dessserve to win! Hisss people are ssstill corrupt!"

"I will answer your claim by stating that the current Padishah remained devout to Khoda, with exception of choice of his wives." replied the loyalist Deva "And stamped down on all things that give you a right to win."

"But hisss people did not!" countered sharply the entity "Hisss vizier is being consssumed by wine, hisss wivesss worship us, hiss commandersss care not about us and hisss brother lovesss boysss. Are thossse the people of Khoda? I requesst I will be allowed to put them to harshshshshser trial!"

"Silence!" a voice boomed a voice like thousand thunders from the throne. All of the beings assembled became stunned.

"You, Chalapudra, dare to accuse the Emperor?" the voice continued roaring "With certain exceptions he has served me loyally. It is not his fault that he can not change hearts of people corrupted by centuries of sin. You accuse him, and what goes in domain I have given you? The nations dedicated are filled with every kind of perversion. Your priestesses sell their bodies to gain your favour. Who are you to dare accuse a servant of Khoda?"

Chalapudra now looked stunned. All three of her eyes were wide open, fear painting on her face.

"Now this, Chalapudra. You are a deva - daughter of most high. But one day - you shall die like a human. I promise you that."

The face of the deva lost it's red color. It now was light pink with spots of white.

"But that day is not today. You asked for a right to test the Emperor, and that right I give you. You are not allowed only to kill the Emperor, or destroy the Empire. The rest is in your hands."

For a while the being stood like one of poles dedicated to her, motionless. Then it woke up from the shock, and bowed.

"Thank you. I shall see to it that that the Karlani are tested properly. Leave now."

With that, the session of the Divine Durbar dissolved. All the beings except the elders and the animals left, to await another session - or in case of Chalapudra, to begin her task.
Last edited by New Aeyariss on Wed Nov 16, 2022 4:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Inyourfaceistan wrote:You didn't know that Cusc is actually a 4-armed cyborg genius commander and skillful warrior created in secret by a cabal of rich capitalist financiers built to lead and army of drones and other renegades against and overbearing socialist regime?
Psalms 144:1 wrote:Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
Also known as El Cuscatlan, Jesus will offer you eternal life if you believe in him!


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Of the Quendi
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Of the Quendi » Sat Nov 19, 2022 2:44 am

Dharma of Vijayanagara breathed deeply in relief as she escaped the tent of the feast. The fresh night air was a wonderful respite from the smells and noises of the Padishah Emperor's orgiastic celebration. Though the night was full of the noises of boisterous soldiers, not highly enough ranked to be seated in the Emperor's tent, making feasts of their own there was no urinals of fallen idols, to disturb the sensibility of Dharma of Vijayangara.

The young harem woman walked briskly through the army camp, followed discreetly by Aisha the Urdubegi. This was no mere leisurely stroll by one not accustomed to such freedom, Dharma had a purpose; only Zinat-un-Nissa was purposeless and idle in the confines of the harem. Dharma wanted to witness it, the horror, the abomination; her master's pyramid of skulls. She followed the sound of vultures and the smell of carrion, as the intensity of both increased her gait slowed and she approached the pyramid slowly, solemnly and perhaps a little apprehensively as if, now that she was within reach of her goal, she had second thoughts. Dharma remembered well the horror of war, but horrors do not go away just because they go unwitnessed. So she persisted.

In the dark the contours of the pyramid was taking shape before her while a sound, lower but more intense than the cries of the vultures grew; the sound of a million flies having their own feast, far grander and more terrible than even that of the Padishah Emperor. The pyramid was in truth no pyramid, its shape more that of a mound or a small hill and as Dharma came close enough to make out the details in the dark it was clear that the skulls weren't quite skulls either. They where heads, methodically cut of the fallen and the captured warriors. But not just the warriors. Every male captive over the age of sixteen. So the Padishah Emperor had ordered and so, to her horror, Dharma observed that it was. The grimaces of fear and pain and despair with which the brave warriors and the young had died on their faces had been retained in death; each one telling a tragic tale of the cruelty and brutality of the man whose bed Zinat-un-Nissa sometimes shared. Now he feasted in his tent with his drunken and debauched retainers, relieving himself on the idols of his fallen foes.

Yet it was not contempt for her master that filled Dharma's heart as she gazed upon the terrible mound, only sadness and grief for what had been lost. Looking around discreetly to make sure that, but for Aisha the urdubegi, she was alone, Dharma whispered a sacred mantra for the death. She knelt down gracefully before the pyramid and drew a short knife. With a quick precise slash she made a clean cut to the underside of her left arm and dropped some of her blood on the ground, a sacrifice to the devas. She repeated her mantra several time, each time with growing intensity, as more blood fell on the ground, feeling the presence of the devas growing; imploring them to show mercy to the fallen.

The ritual completed Dharma rose, the blood loose and the felt presence of her deities made her feel lightheaded and empowered at the same time. There was power in submitting to the Devas. Power and pleasure. Dharma turned towards Aisha. The Urdubegi looked at her with a combination of fear and curiosity. Though a Khodaist the urdubegi, like most of her order, came from savage tribes on the periphery of the empire, where orthodoxy was the exception rather than norm. There a sorcerer was more likely to be feared and venerated than put to death; and Aisha was both illiterate and ignorant of all but the most basic tenets of her own faith. She was also the closest thing to a friend Zinat-un-Nissa had at court. Dharma trusted her to keep quiet.

Dharma lingered a bit in quiet commemoration before the macabre pyramid before turning to return to her own bed. The Padishah Emperor had not, thus far at least, expressed her presence in his bed, something for which she was rather grateful as she was not sure she could have found it in her to satisfy him. Not tonight. Dharma was free to sleep in her own bed.

Walking towards the women's quarter, the mobile harem following the Padishah Emperor into war Dharma was still filled with the presence of the Devas and paid little heed to anything else and when she came upon a pair of soldiers accosting an enslaved woman she all but stumbled upon them. One of the soldiers cursed at her and for a moment seemed about to abandon his prize to seize another, before thinking better of it and turning his attention once again to his unfortunate victim, a not entirely young woman, slender and sinewy who was putting up quite a struggle.

Though not naive enough not to understand the banality of the assault which might have occurred at any battlefield from the beginning of time and, no doubt, until its end, Dharma could scarcely conceal her disgust. The screams and wails of the woman cut through Dharma like knives, the coarse laughter and lusty grunting of the men sickening her and made her feel tainted and filthy herself. Yet she continued on her way until the unfortunate woman invoked the name of Charudhara, begging to be struck down and made to join her fallen husband in the afterlife. The woman made this prayer in the Vijanagaran language. Dharma acted instinctively. "LEAVE THAT WOMAN ALONE!" She roared in the same tongue and, having expected no reply much less compliance launched a ferocious kick at the head of the soldier on top of the woman at that moment. Dharma had small and dainty feet and wore soft slippers on them, but the kick was well aimed and with no small amount of force behind it. The soldier flew of the woman and rolled a respectable number of feet away from her before collapsing.

The man who held the woman for his mate seemed for a moment not to understand what had just happened and in truth Dharma knew how he felt. What had she just done. The soldier and the harem woman realized about the same time what had happened. The soldier let go of his captive and not up from the ground, a tad unsteadily, clearly drunk, looking menacingly at Dharma. He stepped towards her stretching out his arms, but at once Aisha stepped forward, her hand resting on her sword. The soldier looked from Dharma to the urdubegi and then to his friend who was making some pained noises but seemed in no hurry to come to anyone's aid. For a moment the soldier seemed unsure of what to do, but then he drew his sword. Dharma gestured to Aisha not to follow suit. She was in enough trouble as it was without causing the death of one of the Padishah Emperor's soldiers. Better handle the man himself and make sure he wasn't killed or maimed, Dharma thought.

Quite conveniently the soldier had taken his helmet of when he began to defile the chela woman, it was now lying uselessly on the ground next to the woman who was scrambling to put her clothing back on. Thus, when the man made a clumsy swing of his sword which Dharma easily dodged her punch found his nose unprotected making it give a very satisfactory breaking sound as it met Dharma's fist. The man roared in pain and shouted some barely audible curses as he staggered backwards. Dharma made no attempt to follow him or disarm him only shaking her pained hand. Despite, or perhaps rather because of the situation, she broke out into a chuckle. This unsurprisingly angered the soldier who stepped forward again. But now more soldiers was approaching, drawn by the noise. Drunk and high on battle and no doubt other substances as well, the situation was growing more dangerous. Dharma drew her knife. She knew one thing, she wasn't going to be taken alive to be defiled and brutalized before someone realized who she was and sent her to the Amira-e-harem. She would take down as many men as she could and then slit her own throat when she could manage no more, sooner than suffer the alternative.

"What is the meaning of this?" A commanding voice demanded, an officer approaching. The man, a tall and ferocious looking Karlani warrior aristocrat gazed menacingly at the soldiers, his hand resting on the pommel of his sword. He gave Dharma a cold look, inspecting with surprise her rich garb. Then his gaze fell upon Aisha. For a moment a look of surprise appeared on his face but then he grew pale in realization. Like any good officer when faced with an unfamiliar and unpleasant situation the warrior grew abusive towards his subordinates. "Ibn Umar; put down that sword at once or I will have you hung before sunrise, you useless Kafr turd."

The soldier, Ibn Umar Dharma presumed, seemed very reluctant to obey that order. "I will teach that Chela witch a lesson first Sir." He declared, to surpassed murmurs of agreement from the assembled soldiers. The officer at once unsheathed his sword. "You will do no such thing you miscreant son of a mangy dog; none of you will. That woman is no Chela whore, she is a concubine of the Padishah Emperor and if he learns that you barred your steel against her he will have you torn apart by elephants in the morning." The officer said stepping between Dharma and Ibn Umar, pointing his sword directly at the soldier's throat. "I won't say it again. Lower your sword."

With a hate filled gaze in Dharma's direction the soldier very slowly and very petulantly lowered his blade, mumbling something inaudible which seemed to contain the words "chela witch" and a number of curses. The officer turned away from Ibn Umar, pointing his sword at the other assembled soldiers. "Nothing to see here, clear the grounds at once." He ordered. The soldier's grumbling among themselves slowly withdrew. Ibn Umar helped up his friend who only now seemed to be coming to his senses and then he grabbed the woman from Vijanagara to drag her away. "Unhand her at once wretch!" Dharma ordered imperiously. But Ibn Umar gave her a venomous gaze before turning to the officer with an aggrieved demeanor. "This wench belongs to me and Hakim, she is part of our share of the spoils. May the Padishah Emperor's concubines, his Kafr concubines, take from his men?" The soldier whined. "Indeed they may not." The officer declared. Turning towards Dharma with a demeanor of respectful coolness he bowed politely. "The woman belongs to Ibn Umar your highness." Was his cold judgement.

"She does not." Dharma at once declared. With a contemptuous gesture she threw back her veil revealing her face to the officer and Ibn Umar (and the groggy Hakim, the Chela woman and the soldiers loitering around despite the officer's orders to see the end of the strange intermezzo), they gave her the stunned look all men inevitably gave her when they saw her face, giving Dharma time to take of one of her earrings. The ring was made of gold and had jewels hanging from it in chains of white gold. It was a magnificent piece of jewelry and not at all to her taste but as a gift from the Padishah Emperor she often wore it despite her distaste for its ostentatious excess. Without a seconds thought Dharma threw the earring on the ground. It caught the light of a torch casting a glimmer as it fell into the dirt. "She belongs to me." Dharma declared.

For a moment Ibn Umar, clutching his broken nose, looked about to object, but he had seen the earring glitter in the torchlight. He picked it up from the ground and let go of the woman. "So she does." The officer coldly declared. "Perhaps your excellency might now be so good to return to your quarters, the setting of a battlefield is no fit place for a woman of your grace's nobility. May I offer your illustriousness an escort to see you safely to your quarters for the night?" The officer offered with a perfect politeness that did not disguise his displeasure. "I depart when I desire and I need no escort." Dharma responded while fixing her veil. "Now leave me be." She ordered. The officer bowed politely and, after cajoling the remaining soldiers to retreat, departed.

Dharma turned to look at the Chela woman. The woman, still shaken and marred by her assault, had arranged her clothing as best she could, though the tears and cuts to the fabric and the dirt that covered her robe left little doubt about what had happened to her. The woman at once prostrated herself before Dharma and began to give thanks in the Vijayanagaran tongue, making Dharma curious how a Chela woman from Barna spoke that language. But the time was not to find that out. "There is no need for all that." Dharma said in the same language, waving the gratitude of the Chela woman aside. "What will you do now?" Dharma asked, looking around the camp. Even if the soldiers had left there was little doubt that if Dharma left the woman alone she would fall again into slavery. "Whatever you command, lady." The Chela woman replied matter-of-factly, impressing Dharma with her calm voice; Dharma was far from certain she could have mustered such self-control so soon after such an ordeal. Still she shook her head dismissively. "I have no need of a slave; I bought you only because you remind me of my home and because your suffering moved me; there, I give you your freedom. You may do as you wish." Dharma declared.

Even as she said it Dharma felt the inadequacy of her words. What freedom did the Chela woman have but to become someone else's slave and suffer further indignities. "Perhaps ..." Dharma suggested ponderously, fidgeting with her knife. "You invoked Charudhara and asked her to release you from samsara and reunite you with your lost kin." Dharma said drawing her knife. After a moment's hesitation she held out her hand, offering her knife to the Chela woman. "Perhaps it is better for you to die with honor than live dishonored." Dharma suggested hesitantly, not quite sure if what was obviously true for herself was equally so for the Chela woman. The Chela woman shook her head calmly, though Dharma was pleased to see no fear or cowardice in her eyes. The words of the Chela woman however shocked her. "It would please me to escape samsara but my life is not my own. I gave myself to Charudhara and she sent your ladyship to save me. The will of the All-Mother is clear. My life belongs to you know; only you may end it." The Chela woman declared with conviction, and to make matters worse she then brushed aside her hair and barred her neck to Dharma as if inviting a killing strike.

"I am not going to kill you." Dharma, almost insulted by the suggestion, declared. The Chela woman nodded glumly with a disappointed look on her face. "Then I live to serve you lady." The woman said, prostrating herself once more in the mud before Dharma. Dharma sighed. It seemed she had acquired a new slave.

***

From behind her purdah veil, Dharma observed the proceedings of the Durbar alongside the other harem women. She could observe but not herself be observed. The privilege, or curse if one looked at it so, of the harem woman. She could gaze intently at those men who had drunk so heavily the night before that they where scarcely able to stand unassisted and smirk at their lack of restraint, she could take note of where the great powers stood in relation to the Padishah Emperor and determine whose star was rising and whose fading, she could listen to the words of the Padishah Emperor and not worry what her expression might convey about any of them. Purdah was a privilege as far as Dharma was concerned.

Behind the veil none could observe the look of concern on Dharma's face as her master spoke of a former friend fomenting rebellion in the south. Karna surely, yet was his differences with the court grown so insurmountable that the Padishah Emperor would speak so ill of him. It had been a long time since Dharma had heard from home, no news of any import had reached her since she, to her delight, learned of the death of Zafar Khan and the ruin of his house and the deliverance of Dharma's brothers from his prison. Oh how she had celebrated on that day. She would have gladly given herself for many lifetimes to the Karlani for so precious a gift. But since that triumph there had been little news. Karna, or Brahmaji Rao as he now went by, had gone to war with Zafar Khan's vassals and allies but she knew nothing of how that war was going. Had something happened, she wondered. If the Padishah Emperor was grown weary of Karna perhaps it was a sign that Karna had won once more and was beginning to look less like an ally against Zafar Khan and his ilk and more like a threat. So in a way; good news.

Eager to learn more Dharma listened intently as the Padishah Emperor began to outline a three point plan. Marriage with Sher Shah Bari. Dharma could not share the uproar of the court at the prospect. In truth she found it rather a dull proposition. One Khodaist marrying another as far as she was concerned. Oh yes, she knew well the nature of the theological differences between the Karlani and Ghondistan. Probably more so than many who professed themselves devout Khodaists, yet she could mobilize little concern for the distinction and waited impatiently for the Padishah Emperor to proceed.

A barely audible gasp escaped her when at last her master got to his second point. Full scale war against Karna. Was a pyramid of severed heads soon be erected upon the burning ruins of Vijayanagara? Was its women and children to be sold into soul-crushing slavery, its shrines and temples to be defiled and its culture and civilization destroyed? Was she, Dharma of Vijayanagara, not Zinat-un-Nissa Mahal, to stand besides her master as such ruin was brought upon her home. As these thoughts ran through Dharma's head she paid no attention to the appointment of a new Zamindar. She got to her feet, shaken and with none of her usual elegance. In full view of the entirety of the assembled court she left the Durbar, paying no heed to the whispers that followed her out.
Nation RP name
Arda i Eruhíni (short form)
Alcarinqua ar Meneldëa Arda i Eruhíni i sé Amanaranyë ar Aramanaranyë (long form)


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